USS BASTET - Mission 11
IN PROGRESS
POST INDEX
Post # Character Title
001 A'Janni The Last of His Pride
A'Janni helps the Grand Duke to escape
002 Gemma Code Black
The BASTET responds to a Priority Black emergency
003 Mitshiba What's In The Box
Aki tries to figure out what is in the box Krayss has
004 Iverson A Quick History Lesson
A'Janni gives Selene a quick review of the situation
005 Andersson Patient vs Patience
Sofia deals with the Grand Duke's injuries
006 Mitshiba The OGRAAM
Aki researches the item known as OGRAAM
007 Valentine Cats Have feelings Too
Sarena and A'Janni share a moment in the Mess hall
008 A'Janni Failed Protector
A'Janni and Sarena talk in the Mess Hall
009 Gemma Something Broken
In Engineering, Gemma's personalities surface
010 Andersson Healing The Healer
Nic tells Sofia they are heading for OLTHAR PRIME
Post # Character Title
011 Dima Picking Up The Pieces
Nic goes to see Selene on the bridge
012 Iverson Why? Why Not?
Selene meets Gwenvel for the first time
013 Fairborn Like Waves On A Beach
Elan and Amber receive a call from the BASTET
014 Valentine Light-Footed
Sarena has a chat with A'Janni and Gemma
015 Andersson Business Breakfast
Sofia and Nic have breakfast in he Mess Hall
016 A'Janni What Must Be Done
A'Janni beams down to OLTHAR PRIME
017 Fairborn When The Universe...
Elan makes a decision
018 Valentine Plan Of Action
Sarena speaks with Selene
019 Mitshiba Back and Forth
Aki scans the KZINTI system and finds some oddities
020 Gemma Identity Crissis
Gemma discovers someting about the OGRAAM
M11-P001: USS BASTET: A'Janni: 34064.1130 ("The Last of His Pride")
"The Last of His Pride"
[previous (ANU) "The List" / (BAS) "Unexpected Twist"]]

[/\]
Setting: Space, the far side of the third moon orbiting KZINTI BETA
Stardate: 34064.1130 

The small powered-down civilian runabout looked as if it had recently been abandoned. The gentle gravitational pool of the small moon it was in close orbit to was the only thing keeping the craft from floating out into space and being seen by the three much larger Kzinti warships frantically searching the main planet. Although nothing was known about the situation that brought this into existence, it was not hard to see that something important had taken place, something that involved the small craft and its occupant in some way terrible way.

[/\]
Setting: Kzinti Civilian Runabout
Stardate: 34064.1135  

"Stay still," the Caitian security officer whispered with force at the wounded Kzinti man stretched out on the floor of the small craft. All power was turned off to avoid detection, but this was only a temporary measure as they both knew how determined those looking for them were. "Please Grand Duke, I beg of you, remain still. I cannot take care of you and avoid us being detected at the same time," A'Janni said. It was easy to imagine, because of his size and muscular physical, that begging was not something the Caitian normally did, but there was nothing normal about any of this.

"We have to go back," Krayss, a well dressed Kzinti nobleman said before coughing up blood showing just how severe his injuries were. "We have to go back and save them."

A'Janni closed his one good eye, the other having been sealed shut for almost a full decade ago following his taking part in a mission to rescue the kidnapped daughter of a high ranking diplomat. That mission was a complete success that saw the young woman return home safe and sound. Today, things had not gone the same way as he thought back to what the Caitian considered to be a complete and utter failure. The entire royal family of KZINTI ALPHA was dead; the King, the Queen, and their 14 children were all brutally murdered in the middle of the night along with any member of the royal court who happened to be staying in the palace. The attack proved to be as ruthless as it was fatal, sparing no one in its path with one single exception, the Grand Duke. Unable to sleep, he went to the main terrace to gaze at the stars and by doing so avoided the perfectly choreographed massacre. By the time he realized what was happening, it was already too late as the palace was engulfed in flames forcing him to leap three stories down to were more assassins waited, just in case someone managed to escape.

By the time the Federation Special Security Envoy sent to ensure the safety of the royal family joined him, the Grand Duke had already dispatched several of the would-be assassins, but not before seeing a spear forced through his right flank. All that A'Janni could do was to get Krayss to safety, but not before they managed to retrieve one special item, a royal artifact that was now locked away in a box sitting next to the wounded Kzinti nobleman.

A'Janni reopened his eye and gazed down upon the sole survivor of the Kzinti Royal Court. "We cannot go back, even if there are survivors, which I doubt, we would not live to see us land on the planet, let alone stepping anywhere near the palace. We need to escape first and bring back reinforcements."

"We have to go back... we have to save Sheetora." The Grand Duke pleaded as a few tears escaped as he called out the Queen's name. Not only was she the mate of their King and ruler, but she was also Krayss' sister, which explained why he was so driven to returning to the planet and doing everything he could to save her. What pained him the most was that deep down inside the nobleman knew that her fate had been no different than that of her husband and children.

"We will return," A'Janni promised in a low growl. "For her sake and memory... for all of their sakes and memories... we will return." Once the Caitian was sure that the Kzinti was secured and his wound dressed as best as time and resources allowed, he slid back into the pilot's seat and restored power to the craft. Seconds later, the runabout vanished as it escaped at maximum warp speed with two of the three Kzinti warships quickly following behind.

[/\]
Setting: Space, FTL
Stardate: 34064.1200

It did not take the warships long to catch up to the small craft trying to escape them. The runabout's engines were no match for those of the Kzinti military ships and it would not take their weapons long to erase the one and only mistake they allowed when the Grand Duke escape KZINTI ALPHA and sought refuge on its sister planet.

Just as the warships reached optimal firing range, something was ejected from the escaping runabout. It was something small, appearing almost square in shape, something that very much looked like a compact warp core normally found inside this type of craft. Seconds later, a powerful explosion confirmed what the small item was, taking out the closest warship and sending enough debris flying back towards the second to force it out of warp speed. Of course, without its core, the runabout did not remain at faster-than-light velocity for long, but it was enough to make sure that the crippled warship would not be a threat, at least for the immediate future.

[/\]
Setting: Kzinti Civilian Runabout
Stardate: 34064.1210

"You have doomed us both," Krayss hissed through the pain his deep wound was inflicting on him.

"They would have easily killed us," A'Janni said. "We were no match for their weapons. Now, one of the warships has been destroyed while the other has been forced out of warp speed, which gives us some time."

"By only damaging the second ship, you gave them the opportunity to contact the third, and it will be upon us very quickly to finish the job, and without a warp core, we are just here waiting for the end to come," the Kzinti nobleman said, his pain gradually morphing into anger.

"We have a little bit of time," the Caitian Security Officer said. "That is more than we had, and it is all that we need," he added before opening an encoded transmission channel. "This is Lieutenant A'Janni sending out a priority black emergency signal to any ships able to receive this transmission. I repeat, this is a priority *black* emergency signal. We require immediate and urgent assistance. Our ship has lost warp capacity and we are no match to fight those pursuing us. We are in urgent need of assistance. This is a priority black emergency signal," he said before closing the channel and whispering to himself. "Please, somebody, anybody, we need help."

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant JG A'Janni [Access Character BIO for A'Janni]
Special Security Envoy
M11-P002: USS BASTET: Gemma: 34064.1215 ("Code Black")
=-=
"Code Black"
[the previous post was (ANU) "The List" / (BAS) "The Last of His Pride"]
=-=

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 34064.1215

Although the BASTET was more than half a day away from the nearest communication relay, Gemma was monitoring all channels. The Captain wanted the ILO on the bridge, and Gemma was not one to just sit around waiting for something to happen. Survival depended on being prepared, on acting before it was required. Maybe that was the reasoning behind Iverson's request. Whatever the reason was, it no longer mattered. An emergency transmission had been detected and she was the one taking care of it.

Gemma quickly confirmed the security codes attached to the transmission. The originator of the priority Black was an operative of NEW ALEXANDRIA. More important, they were in dire trouble as this code was only to be used in extreme cases. The main reason for this was that a Code Black was transmitted on a special frequency. It traveled further than normal signals but could easily be traced back to its source. With the emotional warmth of a Vulcan frozen in ice the ILO spoke. "Captain, we are receiving a priority Black emergency signal."

Both the CO and ExO turned to look at the ILO, speaking as one. "Priority black?"

"The main frequency is Kzinti, but the embedded code is ours." Gemma had dealt with such a situation only once before. The problem was that she got there too late, a mistake that she did not intend to repeat. "We have an Intel operative in urgent need, and he is not alone."

"How can you be certain of this?" Misaki asked.

"The transmission clearly states that 'We require immediate and urgent assistance'," Gemma replied. "Which makes sense as a priority black is not to be used by an operative for themselves. We are expected to die before asking for help," the ILO added.

"You just have to love the thankless field we are in," the ExO said rolling her eyes.

"We better get going," Iverson said giving the ExO a quick nod of her head.

Valentine immediately rushed to the tactical station. "RED ALERT!" The lights reflecting alert condition came on, plunging the bridge in a red hue.

"Gemma, transfer the source coordinates of the transmission to the helm. Helm, maximum emergency speed to those coordinates. Use the quantum slip-drive to get us as close as possible then engage warp engines." Cpt. Iverson and Cmdr. Valentine seemed to both be on the same page. Someone was in trouble and they would do everything possible to help. In a matter of seconds, the BASTET had changed course and was rushing in to respond to the call for help. With the ship on its way, the Captain rose from her chair and approached the ILO. "Do we have any information on who sent this priority black signal?"

"The information in our computer system is at least two months out of date," the ILO said. "That said, there is a record of a Caitian special security Envoy to KZINTI ALPHA by the name of A'Janni."

"Makes sense," the ExO said. "A Caitian would be able to pass almost unnoticed amongst the Kzinti."

One of Gemma's eyebrow perked up as she read the information on the officer. "According to his profile, I doubt that he would be able to be unnoticed anywhere he goes. At 6'4" and 320 lbs, this A'Janni would be hard to miss."

"That is one big cat," Lt. Mitshiba said from the science station.

"As a special security envoy to the royal family, his size was clearly believed to be an asset. Something terrible must have happened for him to initiate a priority black emergency." people could see that this whole affair was bothering the ILO. However fast they were responding was not quick enough for her liking.

The conversion shifted when Cmdr. Valentine jumped in. "Long-range sensors are picking up a Kzinti warship also on an intercept course. We should get there about 30 seconds or so before them."

"That is not a lot of time for us to act," the Captain said. "Especially when we do not know the exact nature of the situation.

Gemma met Selene's eyes straight on. "With all due respect, we know all that we need to know. One of our Intel operatives has issued a priority black. This means we are to help in whatever way we can. Admiral Koniki did not make this an option, hence why it is so rarely used. Whatever cover this A'Janni was under no longer matters. Whatever mission we were on is on hold until the priority black is dealt with. Our task is clear, we are to get there and rescue him."

"You really think it's that simple?" the Captain asked.

The ILO nodded. "I do."

"Alright, guess we will be performing a near-warp transport. That is the only way we can comply with the priority black without getting involved in the situation. Gemma, head to the transporter room and oversee the rescue. Misaki, you are in charge of the sensors. We have a very tight window to work in and there will not be any room for mistakes." The Captain pressed her communicator before continuing. "Iverson to Dr. Andersson. Stand by to receive potential wounded."

=/\= Potential? What does that mean? =/\=

"It means that we have no idea what exactly we are heading into. All we know is that we are responding to a priority black emergency."

=/\= Priority black? =/\= This time it was Nicole who chimed in.

"No time to explain, just be ready." Following this, the Captian gave the okay to the ILO to leave the bridge which she immediately did.

=-=
Setting: USS BASTET, Transporter Room 1
Stardate: 34064.1220

Gemma stood at the control station, her fingers hovering over the panel. She truly believed what she said earlier to the Captain. This was a simple deal. All they needed to do was to get there and rescue A'Janni and whoever was with him.

=/\= Misaki to Gemma, stand by. We will be dropping out of warp speed in 25 seconds. Good news is that the quantum slip-stream drive got us there faster than anticipated. We have just over 40 seconds to beam them on board the BASTET. Looks like the crew of the HAWKING did a really good job of repairing our systems. =/\=

The ILO looked down at the chronometer. There were 20 seconds left before they dropped out of warp speed. Then, they would have 40 seconds to get a lock on A'Janni and the others, to beam them on board and for the BASTET to warp away. It would be plenty of time.

Gemma carefully kept watch on the passage of time as shown on the chronometer. Every second was an eternity of its own. The ILO's reflexes were primed and ready as only her nanites could make them be. To give her 40 seconds might as well have been hours to do something that required on a few moments. As long as the ship got there first, the rescue itself would not be an issue.  The countdown was now in the single digits, working its way down to nothingness.

=/\= Dropping out of warp speed... now! =/\= Mitshiba announced. =/\= Sensors are picking up two life forms onboard a civilian Kzinti runabout. =/\=

"Already have a lock on them," Gemma said. To be honest she was expecting there to be several dozen people, not just two. Whoever was accompanying A'Janni had to be someone special. Why else trigger a priority black? "Initializing transport."

The transporter platform came to life and soon after two figures appeared. The Kzinti male was clearly injured while the imposing Caitain just appeared relieved.  "He is hurt, do you have a medial team on standby?" A'Janni was barely off the platform when the transporter was re-engaged sending the injured man to sickbay.

"I am Lt. Gemma," the ILO said introducing herself. "You are on board the USS BASTET."

The imposing white-furred Caitain smiled. "Of course, the temporal ship. That explains how you were able to get to me so quickly."

"It does not work that way," Gemma said rolling her eyes and shaking her head. "We just happen to be nearby. If you would follow me, I am sure that captain Iverson will want an explanation. You did call for a priority black, apparently for a single individual. The Captain will want to know why."

"He's the only one left," the Caitain said as a weight of great sadness came crashing down upon his shoulders. "Everyone else is dead."

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Intel Operative
USS BASTET

[The fun is getting to wear multiple disguises and getting to explore multiple personalities and bring them to life. - Jenna Fischer]
M11-P003: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: 34064.1230 ("What's In The Box")
"What's In The Box"
Previous posts: (ANU) "A Friendly Chat" & (BAS) "Code Black"

---
Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 34064.1230

With the small craft's Caitian pilot speaking with the Captain in her Ready Room and the injured Kzinti passenger being taken care of by the Doctor in the infirmary, the Asian scientist was left to look over some of the data collected during the brief but successful rescue.  The runabout's logs and sensor records were downloaded just before the BASTET jumped back to warp leaving the disabled vessel and the pursuing Kzinti warship as far behind as possible.

In hindsight, the BASTET could have engaged its temporal drive giving them all of the time in the world to deal with the situation, but Aki understood all too well the risks that doing this might cause. If the Kzinti picked up any sort of temporal field residue when they arrived, they would be sure to start looking a lot closer into what had taken place, and that might risk the ship and its involvement to be discovered. Right now, all they had to go on was that there was another warp trail meaning that those on board the runabout had gone to another ship of unknown origin, classification, capabilities or intents. That could prove enough to have them drop their pursuit, that was depending on the reason as to why they were giving chase in the first place.

According to the runabout's sensor logs, the craft left KZINTI ALPHA and rushed at maximum speed to KZINTI BETA where they were forced to hide behind one of the moons after noticing that three warships were in pursuit. Unfortunately, there was little else the sensor data could provide about what happened before, thus keeping the aura of mystery about this situation intact. What further added to the intrigue were their transporter records indicating that a box had been beamed alongside the injured Kzinti. Due to the urgency called for by the priority black emergency, security protocols were temporarily suspended allowing for the item to be beamed aboard, this despite sensors being unable to scan inside the container. Soon after their arrival on board the BASTET, both the Kzinti and his box were beamed to the Infirmary where they currently were.

What could have been so important for the Kzinti to hold on to it with such fervor even after being so badly wounded? Could the box and its content be so important as to be responsible for the two cat-like men running for their lives the way they were? Could the content of this mysterious, sensors-shielded box be the reason why three warships had been after them?

Commander Valentine was notified about the presence of the container which meant that it was no longer the responsibility of the CSciO, but being the curious type, Aki could not help but try to get some answers through whatever means she could.  Internal sensors still could not penetrate the container and reveal what was inside, but the Asian Scientist was able to identify a particular emblem on the box. A quick computer search revealed that the emblem was that of the royal family of Kizinti ALPHA, more specifically the division responsible for the maintaining the historical archive of the family over the generations since their ascension to power some thousand years ago.

This discovery did not help in anyway ease Aki's curiosity; in fact, it had quite the opposite effect. Why would three Kzinti warships be sent after a man carrying a box presumed to hold nothing more than the historical records of a single family? True, this was not an ordinary family, but still it did seem to be a little strange to have one man nearly killed for a box while another called for a priority black emergency in order to save that first man's life. Clearly, there was something more to this story, something that as of this moment was well beyond the reach and understanding of the CSciO.

In an effort to better understand what was happening, Aki started listening to whatever communications were coming from KZINTI ALPHA and BETA. To her great surprise and sorrow, she found that both planets had gone completely dark, not a single signal coming from either world. The discovery was quickly reported to their ILO which again meant that this was no longer the concern of the CSciO who was left with the same mystery she had started with.

Aki poured over all of the sensors data she had access to; starting with the data lifted from the runabout to the latest internal sensors scans. Nothing new was discovered leaving the Asian Scientist feeling very disappointed as well as a little upset.  "I am not asking for much, am I?" She asked not addressing anyone in particular.  "All I want is to know is what's inside that container, is that really asking for too much? He held on to it through thick and thin, even after being mortally wounded. The emblem is that of the royal family's historical archive, which obviously means something, but what? All I want to know is what's inside.  WHAT'S IN THE BOX?"

Realizing that she was sounding like a crazy woman, Aki quickly focussed back on her work and station, keeping as best she could any further questions to herself.

///^\\\
Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki 'Aki' Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
USS BASTET - NCC 74977
M11-P004: USS BASTET: Iverson: 34064.1235 ("A Quick History Lesson")
---
"A Quick History Lesson"
(Previous Post: (ANU) "Who Is Rilliz" / (BAS) "What's In The Box")
---

Setting: USS BASTET, Ready Room
Stardate: 34064.1235

Captain Iverson sat behind her desk, attentively listening to the story told by A'Janni while keeping an eye on the reactions of her Intelligence Liaison Officer who stood out of his sight behind the Caitian. Selene knew very well how things went in the world of Intel, and given that a priority black had been called by the mountain of a beast that was before her, the Commanding Officer of the USS BASTET wanted to make sure that no details were missed or omitted.

By the sounds of it though, missing or omitted details would not be an issue with the report from the Caitain Security Special Envoy. Captain Iverson was given a brief yet elaborate history on the Kzinti as A'Janni went on to explain how the people of KZIN had split into three separate and distinct societies soon after joining the Federation. Those who left their home world re-established themselves on the nearby habitable planets within the KZINTI Star System. From that day forth, the world of origin was unofficially referred to as KZINTI PRIME while the other two planets took on the designations of KZINTI ALPHA and KZINTI BETA.

The society that remained on KZINTI PRIME continued to fall under the ruling of their planetary council overseen by the High KZIN, but things were very different on the two newly transplanted civilizations. On KZINTI ALPHA, it was a family who took on the burden of leadership establishing a ruling monarchy with a King responsible for maintaining peace and prosperity throughout the land. On KZINTI BETA, things were a little less organized as the one in charge of ruling the planet was the latest Clan Leader to fight and win his way to earn the right to sit on the elevated fur-covered throne.

Lieutenant A'Janni went on to explain that Admiral Koniki had sent him to KZINTI ALPHA almost six months ago to help ensure the safety of the King and his family as rumors of a possible assassination attempt had been intercepted by Intel assets in the region. The Caitian was specifically selected for this mission because of his appearance, making it easier for him to be accepted by the ruling family and those within the royal court. After a few months, the Special Security Envoy began to believe that the Intel was wrong as nothing happened, the daily routine of life in the palace was as uneventful as could have been expected. That all changed yesterday when an unprecedented assault on the palace took place from within. Whatever plan to assassinate the King was only the tip of the proverbial iceberg as the entire royal family as well as anyone who supported them were targeted all in a single swift attack that claimed the lives of everyone with only one exception, Grand Duke Krayss.

"He is the last of the royal court of KZINTI ALPHA," A'Janni said, the Caitian doing his best to control his emotions as he spoke. "More important, he carries with him the OGRAAM."

"The OGRAAM?" Selene repeated not sure what the name was supposed to mean if anything. Her knowledge of the KZINTI was basic at best and dealt more with the way of life on KZINTI PRIME and not one of the two offshoot civilizations.

"It would take some time to explain, and I doubt that I would be able to do it justice," the Caitian stated. "What I can tell you is that the OGRAAM stands for Official Genetic Records and Archives Matrix."

"A glorified memory storage device?" Gemma said, not at all sounding impressed.

"It is much more than that," A'Janni explained. "The robot was entrusted with keeping the genetic records of all members of the royal family since the day they rose to power and claimed the planet as their own. It is also responsible for keeping a record of every event that took place. I guess that whoever attacked the royal court wants OGRAAM because it has a record of what happened on the planet and might even be able to identify who is responsible for organizing this massacre."

"If the records can be proven to be authentic, it would rally the population against whoever tried to claim the throne," the Intelligence Liaison Officer sighed.

"There is another theory as to why they were after the OGRAAM," the Caitian continued. "Since it keeps a genetic record of the entire bloodline, it could be used to locate the next rightful heir to the throne, allowing whoever organized this to find and manipulate this individual in order to place a puppet on the throne giving them easy control over an entire world."

"Sounds like a lot of trouble, even for someone who wants to lay claim to an entire world," Captain Iverson said while glancing at Gemma.

"A very long and demanding plan that would have required a great deal of preparation and organization to even begin to put into motion," the Intel Operative said. "That they were able to do so without anyone knowing what they were planning also indicates a deep network hidden in the shadows to bring all of the intricate pieces together at the right time."

"Does it sound familiar to you?" Selene asked of Gemma who unhappily nodded her head in agreement. Turning back to look at A'Janni, the Captain continued. "What would you have us do next? You were the one to call for a priority black, so I can only guess that you have a plan."

"I do not," the Caitian admitted. "My only goal was to save the Grand Duke. The wound he suffered during his escape would have killed most humanoids, but thanks to Kzinti physiology, he survived, but I knew that the damage was too extensive for me to be able to do anything to stop the inevitable. He needed urgent medical care, that is why I am so grateful that you were there to help us."

"All right, we will start with that, helping him get back to his feet," the Commanding Officer of the USS BASTET said as she rose from her chair. "I am guessing that you will not accept my offer for you to rest in whatever guest quarters we can provide, as modest as they may be. This is not a luxury starliner and certainly not a Kzinti royal palace."

"I appreciate the offer Captain, but if you would not mind, I would prefer to be by the side of the Grand Duke. I know that there is nothing I can do, but being near him will help me likely more than any rest would."

"Loyal to the end," Selene noted. "This Grand Duke Krayss must be someone very special to you."

"Actually, we only spoke on occasions, rarely spending any time together, but he is the last member of the family I was sent to protect and right now he is all that stands between me and having completely failed in my mission."

"I can understand that," the Captain said before turning to the Intel Operative. "Lieutenant Gemma, please escort our guest to the Infirmary once there you can relay what we have learned to Commander Valentine. I will stay on the bridge and coordinate with Lieutenant Mitshiba as to our next course of action."

"As you wish, Captain," Gemma said inviting the imposing walking mountain of fur to exit the Ready Room first.

As soon as A'Janni and Gemma left, Selene followed and made her way straight to Misaki. "I need you to do some research on something called an OGRAAM," the Captain instructed. "Apparently it was brought on board by the injured Grand Duke and according to our Caitian friend, it is a device used by the royal family of KZINTI ALPHA to record and archive everything about their lineage and history. I am not sure if he told us everything he knows, but I am sure that there is more to this thing then we were told. Let me know if you find anything, I need to get a better idea of the tactical situation we just rushed into and try to figure out what our next move will be."

"Of course Captain, I will see what I can find right away," the Chief Science Officer said as the Captain returned to her ready room. At least this way Misaki might actually figure out what was in the box brought onboard by the Grand Duke

---
Jessica Solarik

Captain Selene Fiona Iverson [Access Character BIO for Selene Iverson]
Commanding Officer
USS BASTET

&

Lieutenant Commander Maya [Access Character BIO for Maya]
Chief Science Officer
USS ANUBIS

"To see the world in a grain of sand,
and a heaven in a wild flower.
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
and eternity in an hour."
- William Blake (British, 1757-1827)
M11-P005: USS BASTET: Andersson: 34064.1300 ("Patient vs Patience")
=-=
"Patient vs Patience"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Who is Rilliz?" by Sarah / (BAS) "A Quick History Lesson" by Jessica]
=-=

Setting: BASTET, Infirmary
Stardate: 34064.1300

The injury was severe; large enough for her to put her arm clean through the man's side. Whatever weapon was used to inflict the level of damage was efficient if not barbarically primitive, ripping through everything in its path with the intent of inflicting as much pain as possible.  That was why Sofia was amazed that the Kzinti had survived this long. Anyone else would have died long before the BASTET could respond to the call for help, well maybe not Gemma thanks to her nanites, and likely, a Klingon would have also managed to not succumb to the pain and loss of blood caused by the gaping hole she was trying to mend. The more she worked on her patient, the longer the list of individuals and races who could have survived this particular injury became making the physician realize just how fragile most humanoid races were in comparison.

The sound of the doors to the Infirmary hissing open and close drew the woman's curiosity for a few seconds, just long enough for the Doctor to realize that her audience had become larger by two. Sofia rolled her eyes and took in a deep breath. Maybe upon their return to NEW ALEXANDRIA, if they ever did make it back, the CMO could request a redesign of the Infirmary, one that included an operation theater. At least that way there would be a protective barrier standing between those too curious to stay out and those whose life literally rested in her hands.

Knowing that her frustration would be wasted on Commander Valentine who had been there since the very beginning and Gemma who had just walked in, Doctor Andersson instead focused on the one person who would be the least likely to give her a hard time. "I understand that this thing is important to you, but it would make it a lot easier for me if you could just let go of it. I promise I will have it on the table right there in view the entire time."

"If you want the OGRAAM, you will have to pry it from my dead, cold fingers," the Kzinti growled, wincing in pain as he did so.

"You appear to be missing the fact that I am the one trying to save your life here," Sofia shot back. "Your physiology may be very impressive, as noted by the fact that you are still alive after having something rip a hole right through your side."

"It was a Kzinti Battle Lance," the Caitian clarified in order to set the record straight while at the same time informing his ward that he was here, in the Infirmary with him.

"The serrated edges are designed to inflict a maximum amount of damage, both on the initial thrust in and on the pull-back, making use of the wielder's strength which for a Kzinti is quite remarkable," Gemma added. Oddly enough, the fact that the ILO knew the specifics of the mentioned weapon did not surprise Sofia.  "Doctor, it might be a good idea for you to scan for some sort of nerve agent, the warriors from KZINTI BETA employ such substance to cause a sudden shot of pain when the chemicals wear off."

"Thank you, Gemma," the physician sarcastically hissed. "Last time I checked, I was still the CMO on board this boat, which means that I know what I am doing. We ran a complete biochemical screen on him upon his arrival and there were no traces of any nerve agent in his system."

"It was only a suggestion," the ILO said in her defense, not really appearing as if she needed one though. "We do have a likely suspect as to who might have organized the attack against the royal family. I was just curious to see if they acted themselves, rallied dissatisfied members of the ALPHA society or dragged in people from the BETA colony."

"Relax Doctor," Commander Valentine interjected. "Lt. Gemma is only doing her job, as you are."

"Grand Duke," A'Janni said carefully approaching the operating table. "These people belong to the same organization than I, they came to your rescue and are working to save your life while at the same time trying to understand what happened. I understand and share your pain, but they are here to help us, we can trust them."

Krayss looked at A'Janni through narrowed eyes, silently weighing the words spoken by the man who for all intents and purposes had indeed save his life if not anyone else in the palace. With tangible resistance, the Grand Duke ever so slowly released his unforgiving grip from the box he had been protecting to this point so that he could hand it over to the Caitian.  "You hold the future of my people in your hands, please, do not fail us."

"It's just a box, isn't it?" Sofia mumbled to herself before resuming her work to mend her patient's gaping wound. With the box no longer in the way, Doctor Andersson was able to work with much greater ease, but it also caused an increase in the background whispered voices as Sarena, Gemma, and A'Janni discussed the purpose, workings and general appearance of the item in question.  After several minutes of this, the CMO could no longer contain her feelings.

"Alright, you three," Sofia said glaring at the trio. "I understand that you want to be here and make sure that all went well. I also understand that you wanted to be here because some of you wanted to find out what this thing was," she said pointing to the metallic box now in the hands of the Caitian. "Now you have to understand that in order for me to do my job, I need you three to get out of my Infirmary. He is not going anywhere, and if you want him to be able to get up at some point in the near future, I need to be able to work without having you incessantly whispering over my head or behind my back."

As surprising as the outburst may have been, it proved to be quite effective as all three made their way out of the Infirmary leaving the Doctor to do what she was supposed to. Finally enjoying the perfect stillness she craved, Sofia could not help but hear her own thoughts as she played various scenarios in her mind, most of them ending with Nicole coming to see her and investigate the reasons for the outburst. The more she explored that possibility, the more the CMO had to agree that it would not be such a bad thing as it would give them both an excuse to spend some time alone without being interrupted by anyone else.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS
M11-P006: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: 34064.1400 ("The OGRAAM")
"The OGRAAM"
Previous posts: (ANU) "The Biscotti Talks" & (BAS) "Patient vs Patience"

---
Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 34064.1400

It took longer than expected for Aki to find any sort of information on the OGRAAM. The reason for this quickly became evident as she scrutinized the details surrounding this revered Kzinti relic as the information appeared on the science monitor. The acronym by which the item was known stood for Official Genetic Records and Archives Matrix, and although the name did suit the item's purpose, it failed to explain the complexity and extent to which it performed its designed task.

The box contained a highly sophisticated genetic scanner that was able to identify the complete genetic makeup of an individual from a simple drop of blood. Once this was accomplished, the device would then compare the data with all others it had gathered since the creation of the Kzinti Royalty on KZINTI ALPHA. According to the information displayed, the device was used to ensure that those claiming to be of 'royal blood' were true to their claim but Aki was certain that there was something more. Any records of a genetic scan would be able to accomplish this, so there was no reason to have a specific machine to do this, especially not one so heavily revered and guarded.  The simple fact that the Grand Duke was so obstinate in letting it go was all the proof the CSciO needed to confirm that the OGRAAM was more than claimed the problem was that there was no way for her to prove it.

Internal sensors could track the device which was now in the hands of the Caitian A'Janni, or was it more accurate to say paws? Aki had never personally dealt with either the Caitian or Kzinti. All she knew about the two feline species was what the Academy's exo-biology and exo-social science classes covered. Now, the CSciO had the perfect opportunity to expand her knowledge thanks to the presence of their latest guests, all she needed to do was to get close to them.

The Grand Duke, for obvious reasons, was out of reach for the time being leaving Aki to monitor the member of the Kzinti Royal court from the bridge while he was being attended to by Doctor Andersson. For completely different reasons, the Caitian and the device that he was now in charge of, was equally out of reach. In theory, the CSciO could go down and talk to him, but she would need to get passed both the First Officer and ILO in order to do so. To be perfectly honest, Mitshiba actually feared Valentine and Gemma more than she did the Caitian, this despite the fact that he was bigger, stronger and simply more menacing in appearance.

"Lt Mitshiba," Captain Iverson said pulling the CSciO out of her thoughts. "Any signs of the ships that were after our guests?"

"Negative, Captain," Aki replied. "The near-warp transport allowed us to leave before they could see anything, and thanks to our hull's special bio-engineering, their sensors would not have been able to get a solid read on us. My guess is that they know something happened to get A'Janni and the Grand Duke off that runabout but there is no way for them to know exactly what it was. It should keep them guessing for a while."

"Good, that should give us more time to figure what it is we have found ourselves dragged into," the Captain said causing the CSciO to look back at her with confusion.

"I thought A'Janni explained it all while in your Ready Room?"

"He explained what happened," Iverson confirmed not sounding overly certain or convinced. "The Royal Palace feel under attack, the entire royal family was murdered and the only survivor is the Grand Duke. As detailed as the explanation was, I cannot help but feel that there is something more to this story."

"Very much like the OGRAAM," Aki noted. "The device is said to be a genetic scanner and record keeper, but a simple medical tricorder with an extended memory module could do that. The way the Grand Duke was protecting the device leads me to believe that it does more than the official records state."

"A'Janni called for a Priority Black Emergency," the Captain noted aloud. "Saving the last surviving member of the Royal Court is just on the edge of being a valid enough reason to do this, but there is something that is just not sitting right with me. We will figure it out, sooner or later, but I am as certain as I can be that there is more to this story. In the meantime, keep digging into this OGRAAM device and report any activities from those warships. The best we can do right now is to stand at the ready and try to figure out the details of this affair."

Aki nodded her head, making it known that she understood the orders and agreed with them. Getting to the bottom of what the OGRAAM truly was would help pull back the veil of mystery that surrounded this unexpected mission, the question was would she be able to find out what needed to be found?

///^\\\
Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki 'Aki' Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
USS BASTET - NCC 74977
M11-P007: USS BASTET: Valentine: 34064.1430 ("Cats Have Feelings Too")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Cats Have Feelings Too"
[previous post (ANU) "Tracking" / (BAS) "The OGRAAM")]

Setting: USS BASTET, Mess Hall
Stardate: 34064.1430

Captain Iverson was on the bridge with Lt. Mitshiba, the two women likely going through every piece of available information concerning the Kzinti and the strange artifact that the Grand Duke brought on board with him. Not having heard anything to claim otherwise, the Executive Officer believed that Doctor Andersson was still very much busy with her efforts to patch up the heavily injured member of the Kzinti Royal Court. The odds were good that Counselor Dima was there with them, quietly staying out of the way while offering the patient someone to talk to if he so required. Lt. Gemma was back in Engineering, the ILO likely working on a way to ensure that the Kzinti warships that were after the two rescued felinoid men did not locate the BASTET and complete their macabre mission. This left Valentine alone with A'Janni, the two of them sharing a simple and silent drink in the ship's mess hall as neither one of them said a word.

The Caitian was too burdened by the weight of his failure in protecting the Royal family to take part in any sort of discussion while the Executive Officer was too puzzled by the whole affair to speak not knowing where exactly she needed to start. Sarena examined the troubled A'Janni as she brought the glass of cold water to her lips. Everything about this story felt wrong. To have a Caitian Special Security Envoy posted to a Kzinti Royal Court was already strange enough. Yes, the two races were quite similar in appearance but the social structure of their respective societies could not have been more different. Clearly, Admiral Koniki thought it best to have someone who could blend in with the people of that world but that did not explain the rest of the issues they all were now forced to deal with.

If the Admiral was aware of an assassination plot the scale of which they were told had taken place, why dispatch only one officer?  In fact, why dispatch any officers at all? Should the logical step have been to remove the Royal family from harm's way entirely? If on the other hand no such assassination plot was known, then why send A'Janni to KZINTI ALPHA? The more Sarena thought about this whole thing, the more she had to conclude that there was something missing about what they knew of the situation. The most interesting part of this was her suspicion that the metallic box now in the possession of the Caitian Special Security Envoy played a key role in all of this, but what?

As a Caitian, A'Janni was already physically stronger and faster than anyone else on board the BASTET, so it was conceded that his endurance would be equally superior. As a member of the NEW ALEXANDRIA staff, it was equally accepted that his mental training excluded him falling for the rudimentary interrogation techniques. This meant that the Executive Officer needed to get creative if she was to get any sort of information out of him, especially if it was information that he was not ready or willing to share at this time.

"Can I ask you a question?" Sarena figured that anything was better than continuing with the silence that both seemed far too comfortable in.

"Of course," the Caitain said, his gaze lost in the half-empty glass of Risian milk sitting on the table in front of him.

"Was it the Admiral who assigned you to this mission or did you volunteer?"

"Does it make a difference?" A'Janni replied, his low growl voice fitting the image of an angered cat perfectly.

"Not really," Sarena said. "Either way you were sent to KZINTI ALPHA and were there when the Royal Family was assassinated. The only difference is who you end up blaming in the end. If you volunteered for the mission, you will perceive the responsibility as being entirely yours for not having been able to protect them as you believed you should have. if, on the other hand, it was the Admiral who assigned you to this mission, you are far more likely to end up blaming him for not having been able to predict the events more accurately. Yes, you will still find it in you to blame yourself, but sooner or later you will be able to shift that blame onto him as it was the Admiral who sent you there alone instead of with enough resources to stop the assassination of every man, women, and child present in the palace.

The Caitian remained silent, his gaze stayed locked on the small white pool located half-way down the glass in front of him. Sarena could tell that he was thinking about her question, maybe not in trying to find the words to properly answer but rather in analyzing the significance of what she had proposed. The Executive Officer clearly acknowledged his feelings and maybe even understood them on some level even though she could never fully feel what he did. How could she? It was him and not her who had been on the planet, inside the Royal Palace when the assassination plot took place claiming the lives of everyone.

"Did you know that the Kzinti do not drink anything that resembles milk?" A'Janni asked, deflecting the conversation onto a completely different subject. At least he was talking, which was a step higher than what they were both doing before. "They see it as a weakness. Cubs are weaned from their mother's as quickly as possible under the claim that this will help them grow up to be strong enough to survive on their own. Evidently, that did not help them as they are all dead, every single one of them along with their father and mother. None of them deserved this." The Caitian's one good eye filled with tears as the memories of what happened became too much for him to bear.

In an effort to get the Caitian to talk, Sarena realized that she might have pushed him down a path that would be best suit to the Ship's Counselor Nicola than her. Yes, the Executive Officer thought that tapping into the focus of his anger might work, but she had never expected that his feelings would so complete turn towards sadness. In hindsight, Valentine should have anticipated that possibility, but now it was too late.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Karen Price

Executive Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977
M11-P008: USS BASTET: A'Janni: 34064.1445 ("Failed Protector")
"Failed Protector"
[previous (ANU) "Tracking" / (BAS) "Cats Have Feelings Too"]]

[/\]
Setting: USS BASTET, Mess hall
Stardate: 34064.1445 

He could feel the primal rage mounting within him, the urge to roar at the top of his lungs grew increasingly stronger with each beat of his aching heart. He could so easily lash out and lay waste to this room but what purpose would it serve? King Prexiss was dead, so was his mate Queen Sheetora along with all of their offsprings. The only possible solace A'Janni could hold onto was that neither of the parents was alive to witness the carnage left behind following the massacre that claimed the lives of their whole family.

The agony brought on by what happened was never far from the mind of the Caitian, and although he believed himself able to control his feelings the few simple questions from Commander Valentine were enough to prove him wrong. The wounds were still much too fresh for him to be able to begin to forget, and those same wounds fueled his desire for vengeance. All he could do though was to guard the OGRAAM with his life and be thankful that the BASTET and its crew responded as quickly as they had to save the life of Grand Dyke Krayss, the last surviving member of the Royal Court of KZINTI ALPHA.

After wiping the tears from his eye, A'Janni looked up and met the Commander's gaze. The woman was visibly concerned about something but the Caitian could not exactly say why. Was she worried about him and how the trauma of what he had gone through would affect him? Was she preoccupied with the Grand Duke and his injuries?  Was it the artifact that was now in his care that her thoughts were focused on or was there something else playing on her mind? Whatever it was, the Caitian was ready to answer all of her questions and concerns if only for one reason; this ship and crew had saved their lives.  "I can see in your eyes that you have several questions. What it is that you would like to know?"

The Commander was taken aback by the bluntness of the statement, but the surprise did not last long. "There are a great many things I would like to know," the woman answered. "Most you would not be able to answer, so I will keep my queries on matters that are more in line with you, the Grand Duke and the course of events that brought you here. I am aware of your report to Captain Iverson about your assignment to KZINTI ALPHA as well as your official role as a Special Security Envoy. What I am curious about is your personal relationship with the King and Queen. I understand that you feel that their assassination is some sort of failure on your part, but your reactions indicate a much more personal take."

A'Janni looked down and exhaled. The advantage of the Priority Black emergency was that a ship was nearly assured to come to their rescue, the drawback though was that the ship would be one attached to NEW ALEXANDRIA which meant that the crew worked in the field of Intel. After a few seconds, he looked up once again. "Queen Sheetora is... was a dedicated mother, an intelligent diplomat, and a fierce fighter but most importantly, she was a friend. The King accepted my assignment to his Court, but it was her who made me feel welcome. Thanks to her, I actually felt as if I was part of the family and not just someone sent to keep an eye on them."

"That is why Krayss trusts you the way he does," the Commander said nodding her head. "His sister trusted you and he feels obliged, in honor of her memory, to do the same no matter what might have transpired on KZINTI ALPHA. That is why he allowed you to hold on to that," she added pointing to the metallic box the Caitian was holding."

"Prexiss was a great King, but it was Sheetora that solidified his rule over the people. She was as charming as could be, able to convince the most stubborn of souls to go against their hardened ways," the Caitian said clearly admiring the deceased woman. "With such an ability, she could have ruled over multiple worlds, but she also possessed the kindest of heart, always concerning herself with the needs of others no matter their rank, position or station."

"It is hard to imagine that anyone would want to harm her or her family," the Commander said.

"We both know that her being so kind is just the reason some needed to want her dead," A'Janni said. "Due to her influence, many of the Dukes saw their ways challenged. To rule with an iron-fist was no longer acceptable, as was claiming wealth for one's own desires. The positions within the Royal Court were administrative and no longer reflected how much power one had over others. Admiral Koniki became aware of the dissatisfaction of some of the Dukes and sent me in to identify which one of them might do something about it. Obviously, no one expected that it would be all of them." The Caitain felt a wave of sadness swell within him as he silently wished he could have predicted what came to pass and done more to stop it, but in the end, his presence proved to be too little too late.

"Tell me about this OGRAAM," the Commander said, hoping that the change of subject might help the imposing bipedal feline to regain control of his emotions.

"I cannot tell you more than you already know," A'Janni admitted as he pushed the box towards the Commander. "The artifact, as well known as it is by the general population of KZINTI ALPHA, is more a mystery than anything else. There are countless rumors and legends as to what it can do beyond its official function to keep a genetic record of the Royal family. Right now, I believe that the only man who truly knows what this box can do is in your infirmary, everyone else has died."

Finding herself sharing in the Caitian's sadness, Commander Valentine reached out for the box and pulled it closer in order to get a better view of the ornate inscriptions on it.  Wishing to get a better idea of the item as a whole, she took hold of the box and lifted it off the table not expecting just how heavy the artifact actually was. Trying her best to avoid dropping it, the Human woman began to juggle the OGRAAM and by the time A'Janni realized what was happening, it was already too late. The metallic box fell onto the edge of the table before tumbling down to the floor where it crashed with a resounding thud followed by a strange twinge that seemed to hint to something inside having been knocked loose.

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant JG A'Janni [Access Character BIO for A'Janni]
Special Security Envoy
M11-P009: USS BASTET: Gemma: 34064.1515 ("Something Broken")
=-=
"Something Broken"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Tracking" / (BAS) "Failed Protector"]
=-=

Setting: USS BASTET, Main Engineering
Stardate: 34064.1515

The dented metal box sat on a small, elevated platform set in the middle of a worktable. Three people surrounded the small area, all of them looking intensely at the imperfect cube. An uneasy silence hung in the air as thoughts rushed through their minds. Cmdr. Valentine was mildly upset, as she believed that this was her fault. That she liked it or not, she was the last person to touch the OGRAAM. The Caitian A'Janni appeared nervous, and this for good reasons. The previous owner had placed the item in his care for safekeeping. Now it sat on the table, possibly broken. Gabrielle Wolf on her side seemed indifferent as she gazed upon the cubic artifact. Her true expertise was sabotage, but the BASTET needed an Engineer. It was because of this that she took on the role contrary to her experience. Fixing things to work had proven to be an interesting challenge, but this was something completely different. Despite all of her efforts, the box remained just that; a box.

Sensors and tricorders could not penetrate the box's outer shell. Therefore, there was no way for anyone to know what was causing the rattling noise. It was very possible that the fall had knocked something loose, but there was no way to be certain. What actually concerned Gabrielle was why such an important device would be built to be so fragile?

The woman of Germanic descent sighed and shook her head. "I can't help you. I cannot scan the inside of this thing to see if something is broken. Heck, I cannot even find a way to open the blasted thing. Why not just ask the owner of this thing to check it? Surely he will know if this sound is normal or not."

The Caitain quickly responded by frantically shaking his head. "We can't!" He paused, considering his choice of words. "I can't. The Grand Duke would never forgive me, even if the OGRAAM was not damaged."

"If we can't scan the insides, open the device or ask someone else, what options do we have left?" Cmdr Valentine asked. She wanted to see this situation addressed, but she also needed a way to do so.

It was the Uxali scientist who spoke next. "Misaki has already tried the scientific approach," she said to a very confused Caitian. "Gabrielle did everything she could on the engineering front, which leaves us with needing to go elsewhere."

A'Janni pointed to the brown-haired woman who had been blonde only a few seconds ago. "What's going on?" The Caitian was visibly puzzled and confused by the change in the woman's appearance.

"It's a long and complicated story," Sarena dismissed. Dealing with the OGRAAM would be a breeze when compared to trying to explain their ILO. "Just know that it's perfectly normal."

"There might be one person who could help us." This time it was the bald Oltarian Priestess who spoke. With her thoughts on trying to find a way to solve the mystery of the box, Ema was not paying attention to the other conversation

"Normal?" A'Janni gasped. "This is normal?"

The Commander actually grinned. "It is normal for her. As I said, it's a long story." Turning her attention to the Priestess, the First Officer continued. "Who do you have in mind?"

"Elan Talak Fairborn," Ema replied in a matter-of-fact fashion. "The man's exploits in the field of Engineering are known to all Oltharians. That they belong to the Religious or Scientific Circle, everyone knows of him. Maybe the fact that his uncle is the High Elder helps, but his skills and knowledge are almost legendary. He might be able to help us figure this out without having to call upon the Grand Duke."

Dismissing his apprehension to the woman's changing appearance, A'Janni turned to Sarena. "If there is something we can do other than confronting the Grand Duke, we need to do it."

"Elan is on board the ANUBIS," Cmdr. Valentine said. "I doubt that it will be easy for us to get to him."

"Actually," Gemma said, the auburn-haired woman now standing where the Oltharian had been. "We intercepted communication from OLTHAR PRIME. Elan is back on his homeworld, which is not all that far from here. We could easily make our way there and give the warships looking for us time to get tired from their fruitless search."

"How many different people is she?" The Caitain was having a difficult time with the ILO's display of some of her many personalities.

"A lot," Sarena noted. "I did say that this was a long and complicated story." The Commander looked at the ILO for a moment before reaching for her communicator and tapping it. "Valentine to Iverson."

=/\= Go ahead Commander. =/\=

"I recommend that we head for OLTHAR PRIME. We have need of Elan who, according to Gemma, is there. This would also give us the chance to catch up on what we missed while on ELYSIA. As an additional bonus, it will give those warships that were after the Grand Duke time to lose interest in their search."

The silence that followed indicated that the Captain was debating acting on the recommendation. There were a lot of reasons to refuse this course of action, but there were also many reasons to do it. =/\= We will be setting course for OLTHAR PRIME. I hope to get more than a recommendation from you as official reason for my report. =/\=

"Understood Captain," Cmdr. Valentine said turning to look at the ILO. Gemma said nothing although she understood that she would be the one to inform the Captain as to why they were now heading to the Oltharian homeworld.

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Intel Operative
USS BASTET

[The fun is getting to wear multiple disguises and getting to explore multiple personalities and bring them to life. - Jenna Fischer]
M11-P010: USS BASTET: Andersson: 34064.1545 ("Healing The Healer")
=-=
"Healing The Healer"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Tracking" by Hanali / (BAS) "Something Broken" by Rachel]
=-=

Setting: BASTET, Infirmary
Stardate: 34064.1545

Doctor Andersson let out a long sigh of relief as she stepped back to observe her handiwork. The injury sustained by the feline-humanoid was extensive and would have been fatal for the greater majority of people and races she knew and dealt with, but somehow the Kzinti Grand Duke had survived.

"I did it," Sofia said with a tone of surprise, figuratively tapping herself on the back, unable to physically do so if she wanted to avoid displaying a bloody handprint on her back.

"Was there really any doubt?" Nicole smiled as the Ship's Counselor slid off the nearby empty bed she was sitting on. "I read your Academy file, you passed every surgical test with flying colors and your major is in Alien Biology. I think you would have had to do it on purpose in order not to succeed in this last operation."

"I appreciate what you are trying to do, and I love you for it," Andresson said smiling back. "I can always count on you to help me feel better about anything and everything, but this was not as easy as you think. It was not a simple wound to mend, not even close. I had to rebuild a lot of the surrounding tissues and muscles to fill the hole left behind by whatever weapon was used to cause his mess."

"A'Janni mentioned that it was a Kzinti Battle Lance," Dima said, knowing very well that this would annoy the other woman.

"I take it back," the Doctor playfully snapped.

"Which part?" The Counselor teased. "You loving me or me always being there to help you feel better about yourself?"

"You are having way too much fun with all of this," Sofia said putting her hands on her hips to show just how frustrated she was. "I did not realize how much you enjoy making me miserable." Even if it was not for the smile on the physician's lips, the Counselor knew that the woman was kidding. "I might have to schedule a special emergency session to talk about my bruised feelings"

"Would it make you feel better if I kissed those bruises better?" Nicole laughed.

"It might," the Doctor replied trying to sound as unwilling to give in as she could manage, which was as far from the truth as could be. The simple thought of the Trill's lips touching her skin was enough to send a wave of delight through the woman's body and soul.

"If that doesn't work, I could always ask an Oltharian to come and talk to you. I hear that they are very fond and admiring of Doctors, or Healers as they like to refer to them," Nicole said crossing her arm in front of her.

"An Oltharian?" Sofia echoed wondering where this had come from. "We only know one member of that race, and she is not in the habit of just showing up when you ask her to. In fact, none of Gemma's personalities seem to appear when you expect them to unless we are in the middle of a life-or-death situation.

"Actually we do know of another, and we are on our way to see him," the Trill explained. "The BASTET is heading for OLTHAR PRIME so that Commander Valentine can speak with Elan who is there. Apparently he took his leave from the ANUBIS."

"Why are we heading to OLTHAR PRIME in the first place?" Sofia was deeply puzzled and confused. "We were dragged into this mess by a Priority Black emergency call sent by a NEW ALEXANDRIA Caitian operative in order to save a Kzinti royal court official. What role could the Oltharian's play in this?"

"That I do not know," Nicole admitted. "All I know is that we are heading for OLTHR PRIME as per the recommendation of Commander Valentine.  Just look at it on the bright side, that planet is known for its natural beauty and charms, and the Oltharians will be more than happy to see us. Whatever the reason or reasons may be for us going there, I do not see why we cannot take advantage of it. After everything that we have gone through, I am convinced that this will be a nice change of pace for however long it lasts. In addition, I am sure that your patient will benefit from a nice little relaxing stroll on one of the many enchanting beaches they have on that world."

"A nice walk on a beach," the Physician mused. "That sound like it would be wonderful, but I am not sure that the Grand Duke will be up to such a physical exercise, and since it would be a shame to waste such an opportunity, we will have to go down and enjoy this walk for him."

Nicole chuckled. "That would be heavenly. We might have to make that stroll a quick dash, but I am sure that it will be just as enjoyable as long as we are there together."

"Perfect," Sofia smiled. "Then, it's a date."

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS
M11-P011: USS BASTET: Dima: 34064.1600 ("Picking Up The Pieces")
“Picking Up The Pieces”
[Previous Posts: (ANU) “Unnerving Stillness” /(BAS) “Healing The Healer”]

=/\=

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 34064.1600

While Sofia had her hands full with the care and recovery of the Grand Duke, Nicole wasn’t content to accept their unexpected destination. She hoped that by heading to the Bridge, she’d get a few more answers.

The joined Trill was already convinced they had a bonafide mystery on their hands. The last surviving member of the Kzinti royal family had been rescued, severely injured but clutching a strange box which was called an OGRAAM. The object’s purpose was shrouded in uncertainty, despite the explanation they were given. Krayss was attended to by a Caitian escort, Lieutenant JG A’Janni, who had called for help using a distress signal only known by those in Intel circles. His assignment had been to protect the ruling family of KZINTI ALPHA. Despite his training and his obvious physical strength, someone had managed to carry out their plans, leaving the Grand Duke as the only survivor, and A’Janni to try and figure out what had happened, who did it, and perhaps most importantly, why.

That in and of itself made plenty of loose ends, but now they were headed to the Oltharian homeworld, to see none other than Lieutenant Commander Elan Fairborn. It was a familiar name, but otherwise the reason for their trip was unknown to Nic or Sofia.

Nicole’s interactions with Fairborn had been few and far between during her time on the ANUBIS, but his return to OLTHAR PRIME seemed out of character for the man who she recalled was very devoted to his duty and keeping any and all mechanical items operating within (or above) parameters. Then again, she had yet to meet an Engineer who didn’t have an uncanny connection to their warp cores.

The Captain and Commander Valentine were speaking, and as Nicole approached the CO’s chair, Sarena welcomed her. “What brings you here- have you come to take another stab at Bridge duty?” There was a bit of mischief in her eyes, although her overall expression was serious.

The stress of those moments washed over the young Counselor. There really wasn’t a right answer to that question. While the only way to get more experience was to participate, it was a bit nerve wracking. “All in due time, I’m sure,” Nicole mused out loud. “Although my reason for coming here was to ask, why do we need the assistance of Elan Fairborn? What could he possibly have to do with the Kzinti?”

“The Official Genetic Records and Archives Matrix may be broken,” Iverson said as she pulled no punches, still adjusting to her second in command’s bad news. “And it is beyond our expertise to fix it.”

“Did something happen to it during the assassination attempt?” Dima asked.

“I wish that had been the case,” Sarena lamented. “I was discussing the situation with A’Janni and taking a closer look at the artifact. It fell out of my grasp and hit the floor.”

Nicole thought deeply for a few moments. “Maybe Gemma could-” she began, but the ExO shook her head no.

“Actually, it was Priestess Ema who suggested we ellicit the assistance of Mister Fairborn. That was *after* Gabrielle Wolf and Wimda had a chance to look everything over.”

“And Grand Duke Krayss is unaware of this development,” Nicole said hesitantly. It wasn’t likely that he had awoken from surgery yet.

“That is correct,” Selene confirmed with a nod of her head. “And frankly, informing him is far down on the list of priorities.”

=/\=
Susan Ledbetter

Cns
USS BASTET
M11-P012: USS BASTET: Iverson: 34064.1630 ("Why? Why Not?")
---
"Why? Why Not?"
(Previous Post: (ANU) "Unnerving Stillness" / (BAS) "Picking Up The Pieces")
---

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 34064.1615

Selene shared the reservations voiced by Nicole about their heading to OLTHAR PRIME to seek the assistance of Elan. The Oltharian Engineer was not new to the world of Intel but it still felt strange to seek his help at this time. The Engineer was good, there was no denying that, but surely there were others equally qualified to address this particular situation. That said, the Captain saw no harm in reaching out to the Oltharian, at the very least they knew him having worked with the towering man before.

"Counsellor, while I have you here, can I see you in my Ready Room?"

Dima knew that the question was nothing more than a polite way by the Captain to request a private meeting with the Counsellor. Maybe this had something to do with Nicole wanting to be a bridge officer or maybe it was about some aspect of their current situation. Whichever the case was, the joint Trill was not going to say no, not that she would have refused no matter what was happening.

---
Setting: USS BASTET, Ready Room
Stardate: 34064.1620

"Is everything all right Captain?" Nicole asked. As a Counsellor, it was her responsibility to make sure everyone was emotionally well, the Captain being her highest priority in that regards.

"Everything is fine," Selene casually replied. "At least as fine as can be given the mystery that we have been plunged into. I called you here more to see how you and the rest of the crew are doing. We managed to get back to our home dimension and could not manage to travel a single light-year before being dragged into another story. I know some people like this sort of thing, dreading the quiet times between missions, but I also know that there are those who use that time to re-energize in order to have the mental fortitude to face whatever it is we end up going up against next."

"As strange and unexpected as our current situation may be, the crew appears to be in good spirit and happy t be back in action," Nicole explained. "Our time spent on ELYSIA was more than enough for everyone to relax and re-energize, and in a lot of cases, some members of the crew were getting anxious about having something unexpected happen. As great as the whole stay was, and I can speak personally, we were all more than ready to do more than what we were doing. We are just not the type of people who would find such a paradise to be appealing, at least not for an extended period of time. This mystery we have found our way into might have been exactly what was needed to get us back into the swing of things."

"Good," Selene said, cracking a brief grin. The woman was not one to openly display her emotions at the best of times, so to see her react this way was a pleasant surprise to the Counselor.

=/\= Captain, =/\= the voice of the First Officer filled the small room. =/\= Lieutenant Gemma would like to speak with you. =/\=

"I better leave you to talk with her," the joint Trill said, already making her way to the door. "It might not be a good idea to let Gemma wait as there is no telling if it will not be someone else to step in if you do."

"Thank you, Counsellor," the Captain continued. "I would like for us to continue this at a later time. There might be some aspects of our return to our home dimension that I would like to get your professional opinion on."

"Of course," Nicole said just as the door leading back onto the bridge opened revealing a very serious looking Gemma. "Lieutenant," Dima offered.

"Counselor," the Intel Operative said in return allowing the Trill to exit before walking in. Like the perfect Starfleet Officer, Gemma approached the desk and stood at attention handing over a PADD to the woman on the other side.

The Intelligence Liaison Operative stood perfectly still in the middle of the office, her hands tightly clasped behind her back while she waited for the Captain to acknowledge or comment on what she was reading. The report might not have been as complete as Iverson would have liked it to be, but it contained enough information to adequately justify as to why the BASTET was on route to OLTHAR PRIME.

"Is there anything more you can tell me about this device?" Selene asked. "Since the start of this story, that box has been the focus in one way or another of everything being said and done." The decision to head to OLTHAR PRIME was already made, as witnessed by their current course and heading, but the Captain hoped to get a little more information on the reason why. Since the call for a Priority Black Emergency, the BASTET had been operating with very little information to go on and this despite the report made by the Caitian Intel Operative to KZINTI ALPHA. For a reason or reasons yet to be determined, the details of what was happening had not come to light, and this was starting to annoy the Captain.

"As stated in my report," Gemma began. "As mysterious as the OGRAAM is, it is easy to see that it means a great deal to both A'Janni and Grand Duke Krayss. That our instruments are unable to penetrate the outer casing of the simplistic-looking object only serves to confirm the importance of the device even though we can only guess and speculate as to its purpose. No one would go through all of this trouble to protect whatever is inside without it being of great importance to someone of equal stature, or to a larger group of people. The behaviour of the Grand Duke in the Infirmary only reinforces this unless we are willing to accept the possibility that the item is nothing more than an oddity and that both the Caitian and Kzinti are as mad as a hatter."

Selene thought that maybe Nicole should have stayed and been part of this briefing. As amusing as the thought of the two feline-man being crazy was, Iverson did not smile. Dismissing all of this by simply claiming that one or both of their guests were not in full control of their faculties was a cop-out was Selene not ready to even consider. Trust was not something to be given away freely, especially not in the world of Intel, but in order to survive, those within this universe of moving, living shadows needed to at the very least be able to trust one another.  A'Janni trusted that someone would respond to his desperate call for help, and now Captain Iverson needed to trust him in return that the extreme priority call was valid even if the reasons had not been fully revealed at this time.

"Do you believe that the course of action suggested by Ema, namely that we head to OLTHAR PRIME in search of Elan, is the right one?" The question was not truly necessary but the Captain wanted to make sure she understood where exactly the idea had originated.  Gemma had failed to mention this particular detail in her report, maybe because she believed it to be unimportant or maybe because she feared that it might taint the opinion of their Commanding Officer. To be perfectly honest, Selene only wanted to know to get a better idea of the kind of interaction the woman standing in front of her had with one of her other many personalities. The time spent by the crew on ELYSIA provided many with the opportunity to get to know one another better, something that many including Nicole and Sofia had taken full advantage of while they could. The same could not be said for multi-facetted Gemma, the stay on the paradise world had proven to be more a journey of self-discovery for the woman simultaneously living multiple lives.

The answer that followed came from an unexpected voice that came from a person standing exactly where the Intel Operative stood. "The Oltharian needed to feel useful and prove herself to be more than what she believes everyone sees her as namely, nothing more than a Priestess with an extremely idealistic view of the universe based on a very religious mentality. It is therefore very possible that her directing the BASTET to OLTHAR PRIME could have been more about herself than Elan and his expertise."

Selene had looked away for less than a second, but it proved ample time for Gemma to be replaced by some else, someone the likes of which the Captain had never seen or even heard of before. The woman appeared and sounded refined and wise beyond her years but that was as much as the Commanding Officer could tell about her. Once again, Iverson found herself wishing that the Counsellor had not left. "That is a very interesting observation, Miss..."

"My apologies," the blonde-haired woman said with respect and reverence. "My name is Gwenvel. We never had the opportunity to meet until now because I felt that my coming to you could be misunderstood by your Counsellor as an attempt for me to take over her duties, be it in part or in whole, which I am not. The only reason I am here now is that I believe I am in possession of insights that Counsellor Dima does not in regards to the Oltharian Ema Fairchild."

Iverson studied the woman on every level she could. Her appearance was clearly human but her posture and speech pattern hinted to there being more, much more.  "Thank you for your input," Selene offered. "In this business information is key, and I am very grateful for your contribution as I am sure Nicole will be. Despite her many lifetimes of experiences, I am afraid that she is very much like the rest of us -- limited in the scope of our knowledge."

"Joint Trills have a remarkable advantage in being able to live multiple lives and experience the universe from vastly different perspectives," Gwenvel said.

"Yes, Counsellor Dima does possess a clear advantage in that regards, but I am sure that she is not the only one benefiting from this wider range of perception," Selene knew how to play this game, but somehow she suspected that this little exchange was more a friendly exchange over being a covert gathering of Intel.

"El'Aurians are blessed with long life, but unlike joint Trills, we are limited to a single body and set of eyes that allow us to see the universe around us," Gwenvel said revealing the part of herself the Captain was clearly trying to get out of her. "As for your other question, the one that you have not yet voiced, I do believe that our going to OLTHAR PRIME is beneficial to our solving this mystery. I cannot explain why, but I can tell you this, I have a very strong feeling about the role the Oltharian Elan Fairborn will play in this. In the grander scheme of things, this detour to the Oltharian homeworld is not a bad thing, even if it only gives the crew the chance to get used to being back on the BASTET with a mission to occupy their thoughts instead of wondering what they would do next. Seeing a familiar friendly face will not be a bad thing either."

---
Jessica Solarik

Captain Selene Fiona Iverson [Access Character BIO for Selene Iverson]
Commanding Officer
USS BASTET

&

Lieutenant Commander Maya [Access Character BIO for Maya]
Chief Science Officer
USS ANUBIS

"To see the world in a grain of sand,
and a heaven in a wild flower.
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
and eternity in an hour."
- William Blake (British, 1757-1827)
M11-P013: USS BASTET: Fairborn: 34064.1940 ("Like Waves On A Beach")
##########
"Like Waves On A Beach"
Previous posts (ANU) "Waiting" / (BAS) "Why? Why Not?"
##########

"Never waste any amount of time doing anything important when there is a sunset outside that you should be sitting under!”
- C. JoyBell C.

=====
Setting:  OLTHAR PRIME, Talsera peninsula
Stardate: 34064.1940

The emerald-green waves gently and rhythmically washed ashore barely reaching the bare feet of the couple as they sat on the pristine white sand of the isolated beach. The salty breeze that was part of this enchanting scene caressed the faces of the two figures who sat there as one, their bodies pressed one against the other as tightly as could be. The muscular arms of the gentle giant easily wrapped around the smaller woman sitting in front of him, holding her close as if protecting her from some unseen evil. Both were as happy and content as could be, watching the Oltharian sun slowly vanish beneath the distant watery horizon. This had become their nightly routine, one that they enjoyed a little more with each passing day since their arrival to this dreamy locale.

Elan Talak Fairborn, the once dedicated Starfleet officer had returned home to spend his days with the woman he loved, a woman whom he had believed lost to him more than once. Through the countless hardships he endured over the years, the one thing that kept him going was the possibility of being with his beloved as they were here today. As great as his love of Engineering and Robotics was, they were no match for the feelings he possessed for the woman who had sacrificed everything she was in order to be here with him.

Both had made many sacrifices in order to be here together, but neither thought back to those with the slightest hint of regret. In fact, if given the chance, each knew that they would both act in the exact same manner they had before because it would lead them to be here, together, in each other's arms where they belonged.

"And thus ends day number 44," Amber said with a drifting smile, pressing her head back against the giant's chest.

"Like the waves of the ocean against the beach, the sun comes and goes washing clean the events of the previous day, allowing the following day to be a fresh and new beginning," Elan said, delighting in the feeling of the woman pressing against him. "To me, 44 days or 44 years would be just as sweet as long as they are spent with you."

"A musician *and* a poet," Amber smiled as she looked up onto the Oltharian's face. "How did I get to be so lucky?"  Elan smiled back but before he could offer a reply, the faint sound of an active communications channel being activated reached them from the small hut they now called their home. "It is way too early for the daily reports," the auburn-haired woman said sounding a little confused.

"It is too late for anyone from the capital to contact us to arrange for our provisions," Elan added. "That can only mean one thing..."

"We are on OLTHAR PRIME, on the Talsera peninsula away from anything and everything, why would you automatically think that a call outside regular hours would mean there is some sort of crisis?"

"Force of habit?" The imposing Oltharian replied with a hint of amusement in his voice as he shrugged his massive shoulders. "After working under the banner of NEW ALEXANDRIA for so long, you get conditioned to think and react that way."

"Well then, that is something I will need to fix," Amber said grinning. "So, are you actually going to actually leave me here alone in order to answer that call?"

"I am answering that call to ensure that all is well so that you and I can have many more days like the last 44 we have enjoyed," Elan said in his defense. "It is an unfortunate reality of the universe we know; things happen no matter how much you wish them not to. There could be a storm heading our way or maybe a meteor shower is going to be hitting this region. My priority is still to stay here with you, and my answering that call is just my way of making sure that I can do so without worries. I want you to be safe and us to be together like this forever."

"Together, forever? Then, I better go with you," Amber said beaming a smile as she stood and turned around in order to offer Elan a helping hand in getting to his feet. "You now owe me for interrupting our enjoyment of the sunset. So, as soon as you have answered this call, I will be expecting you to play your flute until we are both too tired to stay awake."

Elan smiled as he gladly accepted both the woman's helping hand as well as her conditions. Playing his flute for her had never a burden or a punishment, and she knew this all too well. All that she was doing was to use the circumstances to tease him into doing something that he freely, willingly and adoringly did for her every night.

The couple made their way back to their hut, faster then they would have normally but clearly not as fast as they could. Even with Elan claiming that this might be some sort of emergency, the Oltharian was not in a rush to discover the reason for the interruption of their evening routine.  As they reach the small structure, both saw the Starfleet logo being displayed on the desktop communication monitor.

"This cannot be good," Amber sighed.

"It does not change anything," Elan said as he sat in front of the communication device. "We are not going anywhere. I am answering this because I want to know what is happening and to tell whoever is calling us that I am not leaving this place." Having said this, the Oltharian pressed the main control and acknowledged the call causing the logo to be replaced by the face of a Starfleet Officer.

[/\] Elan, it is good to see you again. [/\] It was the Commanding Officer of the USS BASTET, Captain Selene Iverson.

"It is good to see you as well," Elan offered before taking a short pause. "I suspect that this call is not just to check up on me."

[/\] We need your help, your expertise. In a nutshell, there is a piece of sensitive equipment that we are unable to figure out, and it was suggested by someone on board the BASTET that you might be able to help. Let's just say that your reputation and expertise as an Engineer as well as your skills with fine and delicate devices are well known.  I promise that this will not take you away from what you are doing for more than a few hours. [/\]

Elan visibly sunk. The request was as simple as could be but it did place him in a difficult situation, one that placed him at odds with two distinct sets of beliefs he held dear.  As a member of the Scientific Circle, the Oltharian could not refuse a challenge like the one he was being presented with. As a silent follower of the ways of the Religious Circle, he could not refuse a request for assistance, but both of these ideals went directly against his promise to Amber to not leave this place. The tone in Iverson's voice might have sounded dire but it was clearly not the type of emergency that required him to abandon everything.  After thinking it over for a few moments, the giant offered his reply. "I am sorry Captain, but I cannot assist you."

"Elan! Don't be that way," Amber pleaded.  "She is only asking for a couple of hours. I'll even go with you if you want."

[/\] Elan, [/\] Iverson continued. [/\] We are only asking as a favour. It would help us a great deal if you could just have a look at this thing. I can assure you that the BASTET will not leave orbit as long as you are on board. [/\]

"I appreciate your offer, Captain, but I cannot," the Oltharian said clearly sounding torn. "I made a promise, one that I am not willing to break. I answered the call because I wanted to know what was happening, but it was mostly to inform whoever was calling that I am here to stay."

"Captain Iverson, can you give us a minute?" Amber said pushing herself in front of the communication screen effectively blocking the woman's view without hindering her ability to listen in on what was going to be said. "I appreciate what it is you are doing, I truly am, but these people have come here seeking your help. I am sure that this was not a simple decision. Surely, you can understand this and give them the couple of hours they asked for."

"I have this bad feeling," Elan admitted. "I have not told you this, but I have been haunted by dreams, well, more like nightmares about my leaving this place and finding it impossible to return.  That is part of the reason why I wanted to answer the call, to see if I was right, now it seems that I was and I will not let this dream become reality."

"My sweet Elan," Amber said caressing he Oltharian's cheeks with her hands before turning to look back at the screen and the woman's image displayed on it. "Captain Iverson, would it be possible for you to have whatever this thing is to be beamed here. We may not have the most powerful equipment here, but Elan is certainly not empty-handed, as much as he wanted to be away from everything, he just could not leave the majority of his toys behind."

Captain Iverson simply shook her head. [/\] I am sure we can arrange for it to be beamed down to you. Thank you, both of you. We should be in orbit within the next 12 hours, we will contact you again then. Iverson out. [/\]

"It's alright," Amber said after turning to look at the visibly troubled Oltharian. "This is what you do; you have always helped those in need and I love you for that. In 12 hours they will be here, and a few hours after that they will be gone and we will still be here, together, ready to enjoy another day and another sunset. Now, you still owe me. I want to hear you play your flute."

The Oltharian smiled. From the first day he met Amber Satori, Elan could not refuse her, and he was certainly not about to start.  The next 12 hours or so would be spent as they normally did, and the couple of hours that followed would come and go just like the ocean waves on the beach. Feeling more at peace, the towering gentle giant fetched the musical instrument in question and settled in in a chair in order to play his music to the one and only audience that mattered to his heart.

--==(/\)==--
Francois Charette

Commanding Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501

AND

Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn [Access Character BIO for Elan Fairborn]
Robotics Engineering Officer
NEW ALEXANDRIA (currently on OLTHAR PRIME with his fiancée)
M11-P014: USS BASTET: Valentine: 34064.2100 ("Light-Footed")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Light-Footed"
[previous post (ANU) "C is for Covert Approach" / (BAS) "Like Waves on a Beach")]

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 34064.2100

The Executive Officer sat in the central chair as the BASTET rushed at maximum speed to OLTHAR PRIME. Captain Iverson was in her office reviewing some of the information they were able to piece together about the war against the Lokustaar. Now that they were closer to the core of Federation space, they were able to intercept communications and reports that gave them a better idea of what had transpired while the crew was stranded on a paradise planet in another dimension.

"You seem preoccupied," the Caitain said, A'Janni having managed to walk up to the Executive Officer without making the slightest sound.

"You are light on your feet for someone as imposing as you are," Sarena pointed out while quickly glaring at the Special Security Envoy to KZINTI ALPHA before looking down at his feet to see that he was not wearing any shoes. As small and insignificant as this detail was, this realization troubled the Executive Officer for no other reason than she had not made a note of this before now.

"My apologies," A'Janni said while he grinned. "It's just the way we are," he added wiggling his toes noticing that the woman's attention had lingered there for a few seconds. "I do have a pair of footwear, but they are currently on KZINTI ALPHA. In an effort to be less of an outsider to the local population, it was best for me to be barefoot. If you wish, I am sure that I could have the ship's replicator create something suitable."

"That will not be necessary," Valentine said. "I would not want the Grand Duke to feel even more isolated than he already is following what happened. Speaking of which, how is he doing? I know that you went back to the Infirmary to check up on him."

"According to Doctor Anderson, he is doing well and is recuperating from the surgery," A'Janni reported. "She believes that he will be able to get back to his feet in a week or so, but knowing Krayss as I do, she will be lucky to keep in him in bed for a few days."

"In a few days, we should be well on our way from OLTHAR PRIME, hopefully with that contraption of yours back in order without the Grand Duke being aware of what happened. What we do after that though is a mystery," the Executive Officer said.

"I do not believe that it is that much of a mystery," the Caitian sad. "At least not as far as Grand Duke Krayss is concerned. He will want to return to KZINTI ALPHA and find who was responsible for the massacre of the royal family. Even if he is unable to find any clues, he will want to return in order to offer is last regards to those he lost in that ruthless attack."

"I am guessing that his returning to KZINTI ALPHA will not depend on whether or not Captain Iverson decides to do so," Sarena said understanding enough of the Grand Duke's emotions to know that this is what he would do. "Let's be honest, you calling for a Priority Black Emergency got us involved in your rescue, but there is nothing that obliges us to take part in whatever you and the Grand Duke may have in mind. We may be in the business of going up against unseen threats to the Federation and its allies, and even have done our share of fighting against Shadows, but we are certainly not in the business of running after ghosts."

"With all due respect, Commander," Gemma said surprising both the Executive Officer and Caitian. "Are we not bound to assist any member of the organization we belong to, namely NEW ALEXANDRIA when they express an urgent need?"

"We are," Sarena replied glancing down at the woman's feet wondering if she too was barefooted in order to explain how she had managed to sneak up on both of them so completely. "And we did," the Commander clarified. "The Priority Black Emergency is what brought us here in the first place, but the emergency is no more. As unlikely as it may be, the Captain would be well within her right to drop both of our guests on OLTHAR PRIME and let them figure things out on their own. In the end, though, the final decision is hers and hers alone."  After having said this, Valentine could see a hint of discouragement in the Caitian's feline eyes. As much as he was claiming that it was the Grand Duke who wanted to return to KZINTI ALPHA, it was easy to see that A'Janni shared in the sentiment.

"All the Grand Duke and I can do is hope that your Captain will agree to help us in this matter," the Caitian emotionally said. "I understand that this whole affair does not involve any of you, but do you think you could speak to your Captain on our behalf?" A'Janni asked of the ILO who was no longer there causing the Executive Officer to laugh aloud.

"Looks like you are not the only one here able to move quickly and silently," Sarena said finding all of this rather amusing.

"Is that woman for real?" The Caitian exclaimed in both surprise and frustration. "First she completely changes her appearance and now she just vanishes. Does she have the ability to become invisible?"

"Not that we know," Sarena replied never having considered that possibility before. Gemma was strange, to say the least, thanks to her multiple personalities, but no one on board the BASTET knew the full extent of the abilities her nanites granted her. "As great of an advantage as such an ability would be, I seriously doubt that she is able to 'cloak' or she would have already done so more than once since hr arrival on board this ship. Then again, it would not be unlike her to keep such a useful ability a secret to make ensuring that she would have a way out of a tight bind."  Sarena was actually enjoying watching the Caitain nervously searching the bridge for the woman in question. The Executive Officer knew that the ILO had gone into the Captain's Ready Room, but there was no need to inform their guest of this, at least not yet. Maybe doing this was cruel and inconsiderate, but after everything they had endured, a little levity was not such a bad thing.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Karen Price

Executive Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977
M11-P015: USS BASTET: Andersson: 34065.0700 ("Business Breakfast")
=-=
"Business Breakfast"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Frightening Fragility" by Rachel / (BAS) "Light-Footed" by Karen]
=-=

Setting: BASTET, Mess Hall
Stardate: 34065.0700

Doctor Andersson approached the table where Counselor Dima was sitting, Sofia carrying two plates and two drinks while Nicole watched with concerned amazement at the balancing act.

"I think your skills are being wasted as a physician," the joint Trill smiled as her companion reached the edge of the table. "You should have been a waitress. I am sure that you would be able to make quite a life on PARASIDIO or RISA or one of those luxury star liners that travel the edges of the most enchanting nebulas. I can personally vouch for your skills as you have proven yourself to be a woman of many talents," Nicole said adding a teasing wink to punctuate her words.

"A Doctor is what I am and it is what I will be," Sofia grinned placing one of the plates filled with exotic fruits and juice-filled glasses in front of Nic. "It is not like life here on the ANUBIS is boring, and I most certainly cannot complain about the way my evenings and nights have been lately. I think I am doing quite well on the 'excitement' level in that regard."

"Speaking of excitement," the Counselor said using this as a segway into another subject. "How is the Grand Duke?"

"Sleeping," the Doctor replied. "All of his readings are gradually getting stronger and I suspect that at this rate he will be back on his feet before the end of the day. You have to give it to the Kzinti, their physiology is amazing and well on par with that of the Klingons when it comes to being able to survive and recuperate from severe injuries."

"We should be reaching OLTHAR PRIME in about an hour, so hopefully A'Janni can get what he needs from Elan so that we can be back on our way," Dima said. "If Grand Duke Krayss is going to be back to full form, it might be safer for everyone if the OGRAAM was back to working as it was meant to be."

"We still have no idea of what that thing does, do we?"

"Not in the slightest," Nic confirmed. "We know what it is supposed to do, but it is like us knowing that a ship is meant to travel from one place to another. We have no idea of the specifics or of whatever extra that device is meant to do. Whatever the OGRAAM is supposed to do, everyone in the know is being very tight-lipped about it, and unfortunately, there are only two people who might know anything about it."

"I suspect that A'Janni does not know that much more then we do, which is not all that much," Sofia said. "The way he panicked at the thought of the device being broken was overly general."

"I agree," the counselor said. "I noticed that too. He was far more concerned about Krayss' reaction then the device itself which supports your theory. A'Janni knows that the OGRAAM does something important, but I am not entirely certain that he is aware of what that is exactly. Maybe Elan will be able to help clarify this a little more since Ema believes him to be the perfect person for this task."

"Ema is a religious fool who believes in forces that have no place in this universe," Gemma said as she walked by making it evident that the ILO had overheard their conversation.

"The greater majority of cultures believe in some kind of spiritual force," Nicole explained as she was herself one of those mentioned. "Some see it as a presence that lives within everything around them while others believe it to be a more powerful force able to bestow blessing and curses on those beneath it. The specific beliefs may be widely different from one culture to the next, but the general idea remains constant. We believe in something that exists beyond our ability to fully understand."

"Religious beliefs are a desperate effort of lower lifeforms to make sense, be it in part of in whole, of a universe they cannot understand," Gemma said making it clear where her beliefs stood. "How many cultures started by worshiping the sun and moon or moons of their world because that was the only way they could explain to themselves why days turned into nights? How many civilizations embraced the idea of a higher power to justify their way of acting and set the ground rules as to who should live and who should die?  How many people ended up using these primitive beliefs to control the masses in order to have them become mindless slaves? Those who desperately hold on to these beliefs do so because they claim it gives them strength while in reality it only makes them weaker and more vulnerable."

Nicole and Sofia looked at one another for a few seconds never having expected Gemma to go off on such a lecture. For a woman who prided herself on her being the strong silent type, this outburst was truly an unexpected and surprising one. "So you don't believe in anything?" The Counselor asked, not wanting to let this excellent opportunity to learn more about one of the facets of the ever-changing woman.

"I believe that we are responsible for every aspect of our existence," Gemma said. "Everything that happens to us is the culmination of our thoughts and actions. If something goes wrong, we are the only ones to blame, and likewise, there is no reason to thank some unseen force for things going our way. There is no greater purpose at play, no ultimate fate or path that we are set to follow. We are here now, alive, because of what we did, not because it was meant to be."  Having said all of this, Gemma continued on her way to one of the far corners of the Mess Hall where she would sit with her back to the walls in order to enjoy her breakfast if the term *enjoy* could be used to describe what the woman would be feeling.

"You know," Sofia grinned. "It is moments like these that make you almost glad that she has other personalities for us to interact with. Gemma is a wonderful ILO, but she can be scary at times."

"Wait," Nic said lifting a single finger in the air. "Are you telling me that you do not consider the Russian Anya Petrov or the Reman Shinral as being *dangerous*?"

Sofia lowered her head in defeat. "I should have known that you were keeping track of all her personalities and which one of them is dangerous compared to the others. All I meant to say is that when dealing one-on-one with her, there are more pleasant personalities to do that with."

"You are right, there are," Dima agreed. "The more of her personalities we discover though, the more I wonder just how deep this multiple-personality disorder goes."

"Let's pray that we never find out."

"Pray?" Nic teased. "Do you really want to do that here and now with Gemma so close?"

Sofia rolled her eyes before reaching for her communicator. "Doctor Andersson to the Bridge, how long before we are in orbit of OLTHAR PRIME?"

=/\= We will be there Shortly Doctor, =/\= Captain Iverson replied. =/\= Is everything alright? =/\=

"Yes, Captain. I just wanted to know how long before we can beam down and stretch our legs on a nice beach."

=/\= This is not a pleasure stop, Doctor. A'Janni will be beaming down with the OGRAAM along with Commander Valentine. Everyone else will be staying on the BASTET. =/\=

"There goes our walk on the beach," Nicole whispered

"Thank you Captain, sorry for bothering you," Andersson said looking at Dima with a distinct air of disappointment. "Guess this is not the time for me to say that it feels like there is some force out there bent on getting even with me for whatever I did to wrong it."

"You are right," Dima grinned. "This might not be the right time to say that," the Counselor said looking over Sofia's shoulder to see Gemma sitting not all that far away looking back at them as if she was listening in on their conversation.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS
M11-P016: USS BASTET: A'Janni: 34065.0750 ("What Must Be Done")
"What Must Be Done"
[previous (ANU) "Jolan-Tru" / (BAS) "Business Breakfast"]]

[/\]
Setting: USS BASTET, Infirmary
Stardate: 34065.0750 

A'Janni stood next to the Grand Duke's bed, the Caitian looking down upon the resting Kzinti with sadness and concern. The last surviving member of the royal family of KZINTI ALPHA was out of danger thanks to the medical skills of this ship's CMO. That alone should have been enough to make the Special Security Envoy feel more at ease, but that was not to be. With the OGRAAM damaged, the future of those he was sent to protect was on the line, and now everything rested in the hands of a person he knew very little about.

Yes, Elan Talak Fairborn was known to him, the Oltharian having become almost a legend on his homeworld being the first and only one of his kind to serve in Starfleet. Unfortunately, this did not give A'Janni any details as to what kind of a person the Robotic Engineer was. Would he understand the importance of the device he was being asked to repair? Would he work as hard as he could to fix the OGRAAM and save the future of the ruling family?

"Rest my friend," A'Janni whispered to the unconscious Kzinti, adding a bow to show his respects to the man who, thanks to the medication he was under the effects on, had no idea that someone was in the room with him. "Hopefully, I will be back with something to keep you and I going during these troubled times."

[/\]
Setting: USS BASTET, Transporter Room
Stardate: 34065.0800

With the OGRAAM firmly in his grasp, A'Janni made his way to the transporter platform under the watchful gaze of the ship's Executive Officer, Commander Sarena Valentine.

"The coordinates for the transport are set," the woman said. "Elan and his fiancee are waiting for you on the surface. When you are ready to return to the BASTET, just give us a signal. We will beam you back, hopefully with a fixed whatever that thing is."

"If Elan is as competent as you all claim him to be, and he is able to repair the OGRAAM, I promise to tell you everything there is to know about this device," A'Janni said as he looked down onto the device he was holding. "If, on the other hand, he is unable to repair it, I fear that my return will not be a pleasant one, especially after informing Grand Duke Krayss of what happened."

"It is clear that this device is very important and if Elan is unable to fix it, we will find another way," the Commander reassured. "This chip and its crew have faced worst situations and managed to make it through against all odds. Doubt is normal, but do not let it cloud your view of what can be. We will do what must be done in order to fix this situation as best we can."

"Thank you, Commander," A'Janni said feeling a hint of hope growing within him. "I am starting to believe that it was no coincidence that the BASTET was where it needed to be at the exact time it needed to be there in order to come to our rescue. Maybe this universe has decided to play a part in what is to come."

Sarena smiled. "After everything that we have seen and endured, that possibility does not sound as far fetched as you might think it is. Good luck down there, we will be anxiously waiting for your return."

With a nod of his head, the Caitian acknowledged the last words spoken to him and gave the Commander the all-clear to initiate the transport sequence.

[/\]
Setting: OLTHAT PRIME, Talsera peninsula
Stardate: 34065.0805

As soon as the transport was completed, A'Janni found his nose twitching. The salty sea air was no something her was overly fond of, but the discomfort was a small price to pay if it meant that the OGRAAM could be fixed.  A quick scan of his surroundings made the Caitain realize that he was in a remote region of the planet as only a single building could be seen. This was certainly not the kind of environment he was expecting to find a renowned Robotic Engineer, but given the circumstances he was faced with, A'Janni could not afford to be fussy or demanding.

When he saw two figures coming out of the small building, a towering bald and graying-blue-skinned man closely followed by a smaller framed auburn-haired woman, A'Janni knew that he had arrived where he was meant to be. Now, all that was left to do was to see if the OGRAAM could be repaired, and in so doing save the future of a family and possibly of an entire world in the process. 

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant JG A'Janni [Access Character BIO for A'Janni]
Special Security Envoy
M11-P017: USS BASTET: Fairborn: 34065.0800
("When The Universe Has Other Plans")
##########
"When The Universe Has Other Plans"
Previous posts (ANU) "Jolan-Tru" / (BAS) "What Must Be Done"
##########

"The universe is run by the complex interweaving of three elements. Energy, matter, and enlightened self-interest.”
- Citizen G'Kar

=====
Setting:  OLTHAR PRIME, Talsera peninsula, inside the hut
Stardate: 34065.0800

"Come on Elan," Amber prompted the reluctant Oltharian. "The BASTET is in orbit and they will be beaming down shortly."

"I am not pulling out the red carpet for whoever is coming down," Elan said refusing to move from where he stood, firm and tall like a tree that had been in that specific spot for centuries. "I was asked to look at something and see what I can find, not to host a diplomatic delegation."

"First, we don't have a red carpet," the auburn-haired woman pointed out with a smile, finding the way Elan was behaving almost amusing. "Second, you do not have to be this way. I know you better than that, as much as you may not *want* the peace we have here to be disrupted, even if only for a short time, you are actually excited to tackle this challenge. All I am asking you to do is to be polite and greet the Captain, First Officer or whoever else comes down asking for your help. I promise, your secret will be safe with me."

"Fine," Elan said trying his best to hide the smile that was threatening to take over his face. "Let's get this over with."

"Good," Amber continued having cast an inquiring gaze out of the nearest window. "Now, it is time for us to go, someone is already here and by the looks of them, you will be happy to hear that it is not the Captain nor the First Officer, that is unless one of them was replaced by a Caitian.

=====
Setting:  OLTHAR PRIME, Talsera peninsula, a grassy hill leading to the beach
Stardate: 34065.0810

"Welcome to OLTHAR PRIME," Elan said, greeting their guests with open arms. "I am Elan Talak Fairborn, have you come alone?"

"I did," the Caitian replied. "Captain Iverson did not want to impose on your hospitality any more than she already was, so I came down along with the device that we hope you will be able to fix. My name is A'Janni, and this is the OGRAAM, a very important device that holds the future of an entire world."

"A'Janni?" Amber repeated, the humanoid woman looking at the Caitian as if she had just seen a ghost.

"I'm sorry, have we met before?" The imposing feline-featured man said not recognizing the woman who truly appeared petite when standing next to the Oltharian.

Amber hesitated with her reply but eventually shook her head. "No, I just found your name very familiar," she explained. "As if I heard it in another life. Is that the device you need Elan to look at?"

The question shifted everyone's focus back on the reason why they were all here at this time. A'Janni quickly nodded his head as he handed over the meticulously engraved metallic box to Elan who immediately noticed that one of the corners was damaged.  "All right," the Oltharian said. "Let's take it back to my workshop and have a look at what we have here."

=====
Setting:  OLTHAR PRIME, Talsera peninsula, Elan's workshop
Stardate: 34065.0835

For the first few days of their stay in this isolated paradise, Elan had done his best to keep this underground location a secret from Amber, but the truth was that she knew of its existence from the very beginning. As much as the Engineer and Robotic Expert wanted to be away from everything, his love for tinkering and fixing things was just too great for him to completely ignore. It was something that made him happy and as such, it was a small price to pay for them to be here, together.

As Elan worked on trying to figure out the box brought down by A'Janni, her gaze kept falling onto the Caitian without his or the Oltharian's knowledge. There was no way for her to explain this to either one of them, and to be honest she even found it difficult to explain it to herself. All she knew was that because of his presence here, things were about the drastically change for Elan and her.

"I am truly sorry," Elan said as he took a step back from the device. "As good as my equipment here may be, it is not by any means sufficient to allow me to help you repair whatever is broken inside this box. Even if I were able to get to the internal components, I am not convinced that I would be able to fix whatever is broken due to the complexity and density of what I was able to see. Whatever this OGRAAM is, it was not made to be tampered with by people who do not know what they are doing. Again, I am truly sorry that I was not able to assist you more than this."

"You did your best," A'Janni sadly admitted, "and for that I am grateful. I will return to the BASTET and leave you to your lives as they were before our arrival."

"Elan," Amber said looking straight at the Oltharian. "Is there nothing more you can do?"

"I tried everything that I could think of," the Engineering said. "Unfortunately, I am limited by my own equipment. When I had this workshop in mind, I never expected to be asked to do anything like this. I am sorry, I just do not have the equipment necessary to help you as you hoped I could," the Oltharian added not hiding his disappointment from the Caitian. "I wish you luck in your continued efforts to find a way to repair this device."

Apparently accepting his fate, A'Janni carefully and gently took hold of the OGRAAM and began to make his way out only to be stopped by Amber who grabbed his arm as she looked at Elan. "He needs you," she pleaded to her fiancée. "You and I both can see that this device is important to him in a way that cannot be easily explained. You are part of the solution he seeks, so sending him on his way will leave him faced with the same problem simply elsewhere."

"What do you want me to do?" Elan asked, not entirely certain as to what Amber was leading to.

"The equipment needed to repair this device is out there," Amber stated with a level of assurance that took both Elan and A'Janni by surprise. "As I said, you are one part of the solution he seeks, all we need to do is for you to be given access to the other part."

"That might not be that easily done," the Caitian pointed out. "The equipment that was used to create the OGRAAM can only be found on KZINTI ALPHA."

"I am not leaving OLTHAR PRIME!" The towering Engineer was adamant and clearly not in any mindset to consider any other course of action other than what he had already taken.  "I am sorry, but I cannot help you any more than I have."

"Elan!" Amber said as she moved to stand directly in front of the Oltharian giant. "You need to do this."

"Why?" The Engineer demanded, now more puzzled than ever before.

"I just have this feeling that this is what you were meant to do," Amber vaguely explained. "You will not be alone as I will go with you. I cannot explain why I believe that this is what you are meant to do, all that I can say is that when the universe has other plans for someone, there is nothing anyone can do to change this."

The Oltharian gazed deeply into the emerald green eyes of his fiancée. Elan knew Amber well enough to understand that she would not give up on this matter and that as important as the device was for the Caitian, his being part of the solution as she claimed was equally important to her. Faced with a losing scenario, the Engineer made his way to the nearest communication station.

[/\] Elan, we were not expecting to hear back from you, [/\] Captain Iverson said as soon as her face appeared on the small monitor.

"I was unable to repair the OGRAAM," the Oltharian said, taking a brief moment to look at A'Janni, the device he was holding and the woman who had made him change his mind as to what he needed to do next. "I do not have the necessary equipment to perform the repairs, but I am told that the equipment can be found on KZINTI ALPHA. If you are willing to take me and my fiancée there, I believe that I can repair the device in question."

[/\] That is a gracious offer, but I am not sure that it is possible. According to what A'Janni said, the planet has fallen into chaos following the murder of the ruling family. [/\]

"Captain," Elan began after drawing a long deep breath. "I believe that you coming here was not a random thing. I possess the knowledge but lack the equipment. if this item is as important as we all believe it to be, then there is but one option, The choice is yours of course, but I would ask that you consider my offer and request, not only as a former member of the NEW ALEXANDRIA team but also as a friend."

Captain Iverson took a moment to consider Fairborn's words before making her decision known to him and the others. [/\] All right, we will figure out how to get you and that device safely to KZINTI ALPHA while en route. You and your fiancée have permission to beam on board the BASTET, I look forward to seeing you. Iverson out. [/\]

"Thank you," A'Janni said, his voice filled with a hope that was not there before.

"I believe that your thank you should be directed to Amber," Elan said with a smile. "She was the one who pointed out that the universe appears to have other plans for us, and who am I to say no to the universe, especially when it presents itself in a form as charming as she is."

"My sweet Elan, you are as charming as you are sweet. Now, let us pack some essentials for our journey."

--==(/\)==--
Francois Charette

Commanding Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501

AND

Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn [Access Character BIO for Elan Fairborn]
Robotics Engineering Officer
NEW ALEXANDRIA
M11-P018: USS BASTET: Valentine: 34065.1000 ("Plan of Action")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Plan of Action"
[previous post (ANU) "Jolan-Tru" / (BAS) "When The Universe Has Other Plans")]

Setting: USS BASTET, Captain's Ready Room
Stardate: 34065.1000

"Are you certain that this is a good idea?" The Executive Officer asked of the Captain. "Responding to a Priority Black emergency and rescuing A'Jannie and the Grand Duke was one thing, I'll even grant you that Sofia doing what she did to save Krayss was part of that deal, but we have already gone beyond the call of duty, and our heading to KZINTI ALPHA was never part of that of it."

"I understand your objection," Iverson said. "I even agree with it, on some level, but there is more at stake here than saving two lives."

"There is always more at stake," Sarena countered sounding almost upset. "Every time we faced the Lokustaar, there was always more at stake than just finding a way for us to get out of there in one piece. The problem here is that we actually have no concrete evidence of what that it is we are getting ourselves into."

"The Kzinti are members of the Federation, and if they ask for our assistance, are we supposed to just say no?" The Captain offered.

"They have not officially asked for our help, or for the help of anyone for that matter," the Executive Officer pointed out. "It was A'Janni who triggered the Priority Black emergency, and I believe that we have fulfilled the requirements of that protocol and then some. I know that the Grand Duke could be easily enough convinced to make a formal request for help as the last surviving member of the ruling family of KZINTI ALPHA, but that would take this matter out of our hands."

"Would it?" Iverson challenged. "It is likely that the Federation Council would launch an official investigation while at the same time ask for Starfleet Intelligence to look into the events that happened, just to make sure that whatever diplomatic team is sent there would have all of the information they require. Since A'Janni is a member of the NEW ALEXANDRIA staff, I am relatively certain that Admiral Koniki would make sure that this investigation ran through him. That said, you are right in that this whole story could end up not being ours to deal with. We could go back home and sit around waiting to be properly debriefed about our dealings with the Lokustaar not to mention giving a detailed account of everything else that happened, including on ELYSIA. If we are lucky, we might get all of that done in two, maybe three months."

The Captain could see that her Executive Officer was carefully considering everything that had just been said to her. Yes, they could opt to wash their hands of this situation, but the price for that decision would likely be them being sidelined for quite some time. As much as Sarena knew how much the crew wanted to return home, she also understood their need for being active and useful, especially after the unsettling ease of their stay on the paradise world of ELYSIA.  "So, what is our plan of action?"

"Gather as much information as we can," Iverson replied glad to see that Valentine had accepted their situation, even if only because the other options were even less appealing. "We need to have A'Janni tell us *everything* about this situation and the OGRAAM, and as soon as the Grand Duke is able to, he needs to also be interrogated. We might be heading for KZINTI ALPHA but there is nothing that says we can't change our mind if we consider the risks to be too great for the reward.  I would also be interested in knowing why Elan and Amber decided to join us instead of staying on OLTHAR PRIME. Don't get me wrong, I have no issues with them being here, I am just curious as to why they went from being so adamant about not leaving to being so accommodating to come here to help A'Janni and Krayss."

"I have already asked Doctor Andersson to speak to Elan," Valentine said. "As much as Gemma might be better at getting information out of people, based on everything we know about the Oltharians, I suspect that Sofia might have an easier time getting answers out of our guest. Counselor Dima was tasked with speaking with the Grand Duke as soon as he wakes. I hope that his near-death experience will make him more willing to talk to us.  I will personally speak with A'Jann and see if there is something more I can get out of him about all of this."

"Good," the Captain said turning her attention onto her display console. "This keeps Gemma free to do some research on KZINTI ALPHA. If we are going to be setting foot on that planet, it would be wise for us to have a clear idea of the political landscape we are going to be dealing with. Lt. Mitshiba should also perform a full scan of the planet and its system thus making sure that something unexpected does not surprise us. The one advantage we have now is that we can detect Lokustaar vessels, but I would still feel better if we approached the system with as good an idea as we can get."

"I will make sure that everyone is on tasks," the Executive Officer said, the smile on her face making it evident that she much preferred being in the middle of the action instead of sitting around and waiting to be debriefed. Whatever objections Sarena might have had about their unscheduled mission to KZINTI ALPHA, she found herself actually looking forward to seeing what would come from their little adventure into the world of tall, bipedal cat-like people.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Karen Price

Executive Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977
M11-P019: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: 34065.1300 ("Back and Forth")
"Back and Forth"
Previous posts: (ANU) "Killing Time" & (BAS) "Plan of Action"

---
Setting: USS BASTET, Deck 4, Astrometrics Lab
Stardate: 34065.1300

From a planet located in another dimension, a world the crew had given the name of ELYSIA to because of its paradise-like attributes; they had found their way back home thanks in no small part to the assistance of the USS HAWKING. Although familiar stars now surrounded the BASTET, their return had yet to be celebrated not that Aki wanted a fanfare, but at least a small acknowledgment of their return would have been nice.

Instead, the crew was dragged into a political murder-mystery affair involving the Kzinti and a single undercover Caitian operative by the name of A'Janni. From there, the BASTET went to OLTHAR PRIME to pick up Elan Fairborn and his fiancée Amber Satori before making their way back to KZINT ALPHA. Thinking about everything they had done since their return, Aki was wondering if maybe it would not have been better for them to stay on ELYSIA.  Actually, the Asian CSciO liked being busy, but she would not have been against a few hours to enjoy being back in their home dimension. There would always be time for everyone to take a moment to relax once they resolved the issue with the OGRAAM and the murder of the royal family of KZINTI ALPHA.

Although they were still quite a good distance away from the KZINTI system, Aki was able to scan the planets and get a general idea of what they might encounter. Historical records indicated that following decades of internal conflicts triggered by the Kzinti joining the Federation, their society eventually reached a breaking point sending a large number of the population of KZIN out into space to colonize the other two habitable planets in their system. In order to avoid any misunderstanding, the planet from which the factions originated from was renamed KZINTI PRIME while the other two planetary colonies took on the unofficial names of KZINTI ALPHA and KZINTI BETA. Officially, only KZINTI PRIME is a member of the United Federation of planets leaving both the ALPHA and BETA colonies as unaligned, independent worlds with their respective governments. KZINTI PRIME is still ruled by a planetary council led by the High Kzin, while KZINTI BETA, according to the most recent available data, is ruled by whichever clan leader currently holds the title of Overlord, a title that is disputed by force whenever another clan leader believes themselves worthy to lead. Opting for a slightly more orderly type of government, KZINTI ALPHA was under the jurisdiction of a King supported by his royal court, at least that was until the entire royal course was murdered.

The mission of the BASTET, if one could actually call it that, was unclear at this time thanks to the veil of mystery that covered the entire affair. Somehow Grand Duke Krayss survived the culling of the royal court, taking with him an item that only added to the mystery. The OGRAAM was clearly something more than it appeared, something that Aki would have loved to investigate further, but for the time being her attention needed to be focused on the KZINTI System as per the orders of Commander Valentine.

Calling up a stellar map of the system in question, the CSciO could see the three planets in relation to each other along with various ships patrolling the area as if searching for someone, or something. Without any evidence to confirm what they were looking for, Aki could only speculate but her gut feeling told her that they were more after the OGRAAM than the Grand Duke. Unfortunately, this did not answer the question as to why the metallic box was so important to warrant the death of so many.

There was something else that caught the attention of the Asian CSciO, in addition to the ships patrolling the system, there was a group of ships following a direct path to and from KZINTI ALPHA and BETA. Normally, such a route would be expected between two neighboring planets, but given what had just transpired, Aki found this to be very odd, especially when she noticed that the transponder signal from all of the ships following that particular route identified them as being from KZINTI PRIME.

Something was not right, and by the looks of things the issue the BASTET was dealing with involved more than just one planet and its government. Was KZINTI PRIME offering help to the shattered world or were they taking advantage of the situation in order to reclaim one of its breakaway colonies? Given the speed and scale of their reaction to what had happened, the latter seemed far more likely. This only served to add another question to the mix; what role did KZINTI BETA play in this? If they had no role to play in what had transpired, why would the group of ships from KZINTI PRIME be moving back and forth between the two colonies?

Aki could only hope that Gemma and Nicole would have better luck in uncovering details that would allow them to peel back this veil of mystery and allow them to make more sense of what was currently taking place.

///^\\\
Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki 'Aki' Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
USS BASTET - NCC 74977
M11-P020: USS BASTET: Gemma: 34065.1300 ("Identity Crisis")
=-=
"Identity Crisis"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Last But Not Least" / (BAS) "Back and Forth"]
=-=

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 34065.1300

Gemma was reviewing all of the available information on the KZINTI star system and its inhabited planets. There was so much data that the ILO was forced to use three stations at the back of the command deck. In a way, this proved to make things a little easier as each station was dedicated to one world. With a glance, she could see how certain details were constants between the worlds while others were completely different.

"It is amazing to see how the same race took such different paths," Wimda said. The Uxali scientist was mesmerized by how drastic the changes were between the three worlds. The KZINTI culture originated from one planet, and yet there were now three distinct cultures present in that system.

Her eyes darted from one monitor to the next in a way that almost made the woman appear as a machine. The woman's complete attention was on her research, ignoring everything and everyone around. Cmdr. Valentine wanted Intel and that is exactly what Gemma would give her. Every link between the Council of KZINTI PRIME, the Royal Court of KZINTI ALPHA and the Clan Leader of KZINTI BETA would be uncovered.

"The answers are in there somewhere," Gemma noted to herself. "It's only a matter of time for me to figure it out." To say that the ILO was driven would be a grave understatement. There was no reason why she was so determined, aside from maybe the need to see this mystery solved.

KZINTI PRIME, a planet known as KZIN before the 'Great Exodus' was the only planet to be part of the Federation. This meant that although a lot of information was available, the crew's ability to officially act there would be restricted. Anything they did on that planet could risk a diplomatic incident, so it was best to avoid dealing with that world and its government. KZINTI ALPHA and BETA, on the other hand, were independent worlds. This would give the BASTET much greater freedom to act as they saw fit. The question was what would they do?

News of the massacre of the royal family and court had already spread through the system. Everyone with any sort of invested interest in KZINTI ALPHA was scrambling to benefit from this atrocity. From intercepted transmissions, Gemma could tell that some were ready to move in. The vacuum of power left by the murders was an excellent opportunity that those in power could not ignore.  Whatever peace existed between the three worlds was gone, and it looked like the vultures were getting ready to dive in.

In the hopes of better understanding the current situation, Gemma decided to study the royal family. Their links to the other two planets might give a clue as to why the murders had taken place. It could also explain why A'Janni was sent as a Special Security Enjoy. Pictures of the world and its first buildings were called up on the monitor.

"From the very beginning they established a unique style," Lireen said in complete admiration. "You can see that they wanted to be looked upon as being their own people. The architecture is barely recognizable from what they left behind on KZIN." The blonde-haired Edo was thrilled by this discovery. To anyone else, this would not have been considered important, but to her, it was a find beyond description. The new style was enchanting and fluid, very much like what someone would expect a cat to be.

"We need to focus more on the people," Gwenvel said. The El-Aurian had a completely different set of priorities in this research. Understanding who the people were would give them far more clues than studying their architecture. A quick scan of the royal line provided some interesting facts. King Prexiss was a direct descendant of the leader who left their homeworld to colonize KZINTI ALPHA. The position of leadership had been passed down from father to son with every new generation. Even more interesting was the fact that from the very first King, each ruler was adored by his people.

Just as the Kings were loved, the chosen mates of the rulers were equally beloved. The people of KZINTI ALPHA had proven that, in their case, this type of government worked best for everyone. The people were happy and prospered while being under the guidance and protection of their King. Statues of Queen Sheetora were created to honor her and her many contributions to their society. The woman was admired by all, so much so that she often surpassed her husband in that regard.

Reading the long list of what Sheetora had done for her people, Finnja could not help but shed a few tears. Her murder was an act of cruelty without parallel, one that hinted to the darkness of the hearts of those who had done this. It became clear that her great popularity played a role in her demise. Killing the King would not have been enough to see KZINTI ALPHA fall into chaos. They needed to erase the entire royal family in order to achieve their goal.

Gemma sneered at the screen. The ILO was not in the least bit impressed. Such displays of emotions had no room in this kind of investigation. Results were all that mattered. Answers were what was needed. Crying over the death of someone, however important or kind they might have been served no purpose. Looking at the pictures of the queen and her litters, the Intel Operative noticed something. The item was barely visible thanks to being only partially in view, but it was there. Without saying anything, Gemma stood from her chair and rushed to the turbolift.

=-=
Setting: USS BASTET, Infirmary
Stardate: 34065.1320

Gemma burst into the Infirmary, making her way to the Grand Duke without any hesitation. Nicole, who had been speaking with Krauss, was nearly pushed out of the way. The CMO was not given the time to ask what this was all about before the ILO addressed the patient.

"When were you going to tell us that the OGRAAM is a key?"

"A key?" Nicole asked.

"Yes, a key," Gemma said. "A genetically trigger key that is tailored to your family. You did everything you could to keep it a secret from everyone. The problem is that the OGRAAM is visible in every picture of your children. The Official records do not show how it works, but you can see that it is there at their birth. We were told that the device keeps a genetic record of the royal family, which it does. The truth though is that this record is used to unluck something, something important enough to warrant the death of the entire royal family. Someone wanted to make sure that no one could open it. What I want to know is *what* is it?"

Knowing that he could no longer keep this secret, Krayss closed his eyes in defeat. "An item with the power of giving glimpses into the future was discovered by the first King. He quickly understood its power and vowed to keep it safe. His goal was to use it only in times of need and to ensure the safety of his people. The OGRAAM was created to safeguard the relic."

Nicole gasped. "It allowed the King to see into the future? How come it did not warn him of the attack against his entire family?"

"It did," Gemma said with a sigh. "That is why A'Janni was sent to KZINTI ALPHA as a Special Security Enjoy. My guess is that everyone underestimated the scale of the attack."

"Prexiss saw his own death," Krayss explained. "He wanted to make sure that Sheetora and his children were safe. He accepted that his time was coming to an end. All he wanted was to make sure that the rest of his family would be alright. I do not know how the relic works, all I know is that what the King saw was only a fraction of what took place."

"By the time he realized what was happening, it was already too late. The attack against the royal court was in progress and everyone was dying." Gemma was trying to remain professional, but her emotions were threatening to overwhelm her. Somehow, because of everything she read, everything she saw, the ILO felt personally touched by this.

"Prexiss was my friend and I would have given my life for him." The Grand Duke could not hide his feelings any longer. The pain and sadness of what happened were too much.

"The sadness you feel is not because you lost a friend or even a king," Gwenvel said. The Kzinti Grand Duke not noticing the appearance of the El-Aurian Counselor. His eyes were tightly closed as if trying to shield himself from the harsh reality that had come to be. "You feel the loss of your sister far more because, somehow, you believe yourself to be responsible for her death."

"I am responsible," Krayss cried out opening his eyes to see someone he had never expected to see. "I should have been there, by her side, to protect her.

"You are not responsible," a Kzinti woman softly said. "I am not dead," she added surprising the Grand Duke and Ship's Counselor.

"Sheetora?!? HOW!!! That's impossible, you are DEAD."

"Counselor Dima to captain Iverson," Nicole said quickly tapping her communicator. "I believe that your presence is going to be required in the Infirmary. Sooner rather than later. We have a new personality to deal with, and by the looks of things, it's the Queen of KZINTI ALPHA."

=/\= I am on my way. =/\=

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Intel Operative
USS BASTET

[The fun is getting to wear multiple disguises and getting to explore multiple personalities and bring them to life. - Jenna Fischer]

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